Posted: Friday September 15, 2006 4:02PM; Updated: Friday September 15, 2006 4:02PM
SI Senior Writer Alex Wolff always wanted to run a pro basketball team -- so he bought one. Herein his tales of tribulation and triumph as he guides the Vermont Frost Heaves of the ABA.
We had four Frost Heaves over for dinner last night. They showed up a bit late at our home in Cornwall, Vt., which lies 35 miles south of where they're staying in South Burlington. That's because Tyrone Levett, one of our wing players and the chauffeur for the evening, headed north by mistake -- which wasn't a blunder on the scale of teammate Travarus Bennett's, who in driving from Memphis to Burlington a few weeks ago overshot Vermont entirely, and wound up calling us from the Canadian side of the border. (Advantage: Levett.)
But they made it. Training camp and paychecks won't kick in until October, so they've had to improvise on the meal front. To help out, our director of operations, Michael Healey, prepared a couple of crockpots of sausage, meatballs and pasta sauce, plus pasta and bread and salad, that sustained them for a couple of days. And last night the assistant GM, mindful of the players' Southern pedigrees, whipped up glazed ham, Aunt Linda's mashed potatoes (marbled with cheddar and scallions), green beans, and apple pie a la mode to sate the appetites of Tyrone and Travarus (another wing), as well as guard Kevin Harrington and power forward Kevin Mickens.
The meal got interrupted by the interjections by our kids, Frank, 5, and Clara, 3, as well as the players' regularly shuttling between the table and the buffet. ("Y'all understand if I have to excuse myself," said Kevin H., of Beckley, W. Va., and the perfect gentleman. Added Ty, who's from Notsaluga, Ala., and is no less gentlemanly: "I'll be excusing myself shortly.") But in between we covered plenty of topics, among them:
Hoops in Ireland. T and Ty had played against one another during a season there. Comparing notes, we learned that Ty had taken Killarney from next-to-last to next-to-first;,while T had taken Tralee from dead last to the Irish SuperLeague title. (Advantage: Bennett.)
Dogs vs. Cats. This was a unanimously pro-dog table. Ty deplored the stereotyping of some breeds, pit bulls included. "Cats," Kevin H. declared, "are all kind of sneaky." Both Ty and T agreed that, playing overseas, having a dog would have made the mercenary life much more bearable. Said Ty, "It would have been nice to come home and find someone really glad to see you."