Monday, February 8, 2016

Roland "Fattty" Taylor and the Beer Cart

Fatty Taylor and the Beer Cart
Roland, "Fatty" Taylor (La Salle University) was my teammate on the Virginia Squires back in the 70s. We had a terrible team. We lost almost all of our road games. Fatty was a six foot point guard who was an excellent dribbler, accurate passer, and skilled defender. But he had one weakness: He couldn't shoot. Well that may not be entirely true. Fatty could shoot but he just could not make a shot beyond ten feet from the basket.   Up to the game I'm going to tell you about, he had tried two three-point shots (we had the three-pointer before the NBA) and he missed them both. One was an air ball. Luckily we were at home and he didn't' get any flack from the crowd. 

We travelled to Louisville, KY to play the Colonels who were the best team in the league. They had 7'2" Artis Gilmore, 7'0" Dan Issel, and a host of other great players, all of whom could shoot way better than Fatty.

As usual, we got into town the night before and the next morning drove to the arena for a shoot around. We were going to get a feel for the rims (as if that was going to help us) and work out a game plan to win the game that night (which was also a waste of time).

When we arrived for the practice session, we noticed the portable floor had been put down, but the rest of the arena was dirt. You see; they had a rodeo the night before and were still setting up for the basketball game. First things first. Although the "little doggies" had long gone home, their poop smell was still present, and I mean it was strong.

Another thing that was left from the rodeo was a beer cart which was positioned right in front of our locker room. As we passed it, I tested the Pabst Blue Ribbon tap and found the pressure to still be on. Beer was coming out. But that was not the time or place to drink beer for it was morning. I told Fatty about it, he tested the Budweiser with the same results. 

I didn't give it another thought the rest of the day but when we arrived early evening for the game, the cart was still there. I thought, 'Naw! Certainly they turned the pressure off.' But to my surprise, it was still on. But that was not the time nor place for drinking beer; I had a game to play.

At the end of the first half, we were already down by twenty points. We were being beaten so badly, Fatty tried two more three-pointers and bricked both badly. As we approached the locker room, he and I were walking side by side. The beer cart was still there. I said, "Fatty. That beer cart is still there. I wonder if it has pressure." Fatty looked around for the coach and found he was still on the floor gathering our impressive statistics. He figured, that was the time for beer, so he tried the Pabst and it still worked. There happened to be a totem pole of large plastic drinking cups on the cart. Fatty filled one up to the brim and chugged it. The coach had no idea but we all knew because I went in the locker room and announced it.

As we walked to the court to start the second half, Fatty, although almost always in good spirits, was in an even better mood than usual. The second half started and the first time we got the ball, which was after the Colonels scored of course, Fatty dribbled the ball up the court and stopped at the top of the key. His defender, wise as he was, backed off to almost the basket area because he knew Fatty would not shoot from there. But he didn't know Fatty had chugged 25 ounces of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Fatty launched the three-pointer and, what do you know, nothing but net.

Our entire bench, including the head coach, assistants, and trainer, looked at each other with confused but delighted faces. They stood up and clapped, but while they were applauding, Fatty stole Kentucky's inbound pass, sprinted out to the three point line like he had to go to the bathroom or something, and catapulted another three as he was falling out of bounds into the lap of a rich lady with a sequenced dress and a glass of gin and tonic. The ball hit the bottom of the net. Three plays later, he hit another one.

And that's the story of Fatty Taylor and the Beer Cart. There is no moral of this story; at least I hope there is not. That never happened again but I heard Roland "Fatty" Taylor switched from Coors to Pabst.