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The Wizards Come to Town and Lighten the Load

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By Rich MonettiPublished 2 months ago Updated 26 days ago 4 min read

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On Sunday afternoon February 4, The Harlem Wizards were in town, and the high school played host. Graciously accepting, the Wizards still came to play. But when basketball coach Tyler Sayre stepped in at tip off, the traveling troupe suddenly had pause, and a shift in strategy required, the actual tone was set for the day

“You’re too tall,” joked Big J, and the show was on.

In stepped a much shorter Katie Buckley, and Big J felt much better at twice her size. “Ok, how you doing,” J exuded relief.

Unfortunately things still didn’t go his way. “I won the tip,” said the 7th grade math teacher, “and I did it with height.”

In truth, Big J bent down to tie his shoe, the ref tossed the ball, and Buckley appropriately forgot all the lessons taught on fair play. She straightened up, tipped the ball to Joe McCarthy of KES, and the teacher assistant had the easy layup.

The first points in, the Wizards brought the ball up, and Big J had his revenge. The visitors literally ran circles in the front court with the ball, and the big man finished with a dunk.

The crowd roaring with delight, Mary Murphy of the girls basketball team wasn’t quite so impressed. “I didn’t see a lot of defense,” jibed Murphy, and the senior definitely noticed that her coach was among the slackers.

A recipe he wouldn’t stand for on the sidelines, which had Brooke Habinowski providing the Matt Gallagher’s standard remedy. “On Monday, he would be doing suicides,” laughed the senior.

Even so, Coach Gallagher was sure the near full attendance of his team had him as the main event. “They wanted to see me play,” he was all tongue and check.

Big J had other ideas and hammered another home. But Buckley again proved that size doesn’t matter. After McCarthy launched an absolute brick from above the arc, the mighty miniature was there for the follow.

Oh it was on, and Sarge elevated this time for the Wizards. Taking his time hanging on the rim, the former military man may have rubbed John Jay’s big man the wrong way. Sayre confidently dribbled the ball up court and took matters into his own hands.

Away from above the arc, the three looked good. Nope, nothing but metal, which didn’t sit well with Big J. “Hey sir, what was that,” he deadpanned.

Insisting on a play stoppage, Big J got to the bottom of it. “Aren’t you the basketball coach,” Big J already knew the answer.

But the funny man was also empathetic. “I understand that you’re nervous,” said the player. “I’m going to show you what I do when nervous.”

J broke into dance and Sayre had no choice but to go along. Almost as scary as the shot, this moment among many was worth the price of admission, according to Sherry Hughes. “Kids love to see their teachers in uncomfortable situations,” the mom clarified.

Michael Mammola was next to know the feeling. Accosted at mid court, the Wizards put the teacher aide on the line, and the guard shorted an embarrassing air ball. “That was ridiculous,” Big J didn’t hold back.

The shortfall, though, was not a matter of talent, according to Biggie. “You don’t have any swag,” J assured.

So once again the Wizards were there to help. The showmen provided some big floppy blue sneakers, a backwards placed baseball cap and a healthy dose of gold chains. Now feeling it, Mammola also joined Big J in dance and was certain his students will see the carry over on Monday. “My swag will go up by 100%,” he joked.

Putting his money where his mouth is, the high school aide buried the second free throw. From the stands, on the other hand, Calvin Scholar could only dream.

Watching with his young family, the former high school basketball player freely admitted what would happen if the school enlisted him to participate. “They would have to call an ambulance,” dad gladly poked fun at himself.

Fortunately, all the staff members looked fit enough to not need EMT’s on standby, but the bar was not set much higher than that,” according to Allie Palmer. “I got an email, you don’t have to be good at all,” she revealed the call for players

About right for the 7th grade teacher, but without a doubt, she still had talents that her colleagues did not. Palmer had the best dance moves, and Sayre and Mammola may have to sign up for lessons if they want to make the team next year.

Of course, the athletic director probably had a closer eye on his coaches and was just relieved that he’s not starting a pickup basketball team. “I don’t think I’d want any of them on my team,” Christian McCarthy joined the fun.

But all the fun aside, Joe McCarthy gave voice to the most important message. “The kids like sports and the kids like to have fun,” he concluded. “We showed them today that we are just the same.”


About the Creator

Rich Monetti

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