Saturday, June 27, 2009

I recently started working out with a personal trainer again after not having done that for several years. I really like my trainer and I have no doubt that if I could afford to train with him 2-3 times a week, I would drop weight in no time. My trainer is a really cool guy. His name is Demarcus, he is 25, and he played basketball for one of the universities in Arkansas on a full scholarship. I noticed today that he has a huge Sweet Sixteen basketball ring on his finger, and asked him what it was like playing during March Madness. He broke into a huge grin and said it was awesome. I asked if it was a lot of pressure and he said, "The only pressure was that you might lose and have to go home, except you don't think you're going to lose. No one thinks they are going to lose." Somehow during our conversation, oddly enough, he asks me if I know who Arvydas Sabonis is. Of course, I do! He was the best Center that the Portland Trailblazers ever had, in my humble opinion, and he is my favorite player. In fact, I wear the number 11 on my hockey jersey in honor of Mr. Sabonis.

Not only that, Wally is named after him. Sabonis, a giant Lithuanian ballplayer, was 7'3" and 315 lbs when he played for the Blazers. I loved to watch him play. I got Wally when Sabonis was still with the Blazers, and when I saw how huge Wally was getting, I decided to name him fully "Walter Sabonis" - the name that is on his AKC paperwork.

When Demarcus saw how I excited I was to talk about Sabonis, he called his friend over. His friend (I can't remember his name) is a Lithuanian born German visiting the U.S. to rehab a basketball injury. His father was very good friends with Arvydas Sabonis and he had many, many stories to tell. He said, "I could talk all day about Sabonis."

For those of you unfamiliar with him, Sabonis was one of the best players to play European ball. He was drafted by the Trailblazers in 1986 when he was a teenager, but he couldn't come to the U.S. because he was a Russian citizen and the cold war was still in full force. When he tore his achilles, the Blazers brought him to the U.S. and paid the best surgeons to repair his injury, sending him back to the Soviet Union stronger than ever, where he would ultimately beat the United States with the Soviet team for the gold medal in the 1988 summer Olympics. He finally came to the U.S. and the NBA in 1995 - a 31-year-old rookie - already suffering injuries and playing a slower game. I've always wondered what he could have been like if he could have come to the U.S. in 1986 and played in the NBA when he was young, fast, and uninjured.


Blogger Mel Majoros said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:20 PM  
Blogger chellebelle said...

You know I never watch sports, but even I remember seeing him on local TV.. I had no idea that his playing for Portland had such a dramatic story line. Cool!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Kings Fan said...

And to think you gave me all of your Portland "Jailbreakers" playing cards...

6:49 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Personal trainer? maid? Sheesh you have gone LA!

I know you are going back to school, but did I tell you that I want to do that too? As a reacher I have to take classes to keep my certificate, so I figured I may as well take PE classes, then I thought well may as well become a certified personal trainer- if nothing else I will get in shape. :)

12:16 AM  
Blogger LA said...

That's a fun story! My dad was prez of the Globetrotters, and while I ironically never got that much into basketball, I can appreciate a good sports story when I hear one.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Cool story!

6:41 AM  

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