Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Ode To Globetrotter Football

Original photo by Lee Harkness.
Used under Creative Commons.
Once again I am paying a quick tribute to one of the reams the Washington Generals do with the Harlem Globetrotters. This time it will be one of their most popular routines. Yes Generals fans... It's time for Globetrotter football!

For those who aren't familiar with the routine, at some point during the game when the Trotters have the ball, they will break from the game and call "Off Sides" on one of the Generals. The announcer will then tell the fans that "It's time for Globetrotter football".

After this point the Trotters will huddle up, and take formation for a football play. Or as close as you can get with 5 players.

The Washington Generals will stand on the other side of the line and assume the position of the defensive team. Which is not a stretch I guess, seeing as how at the time the Trotters had the ball so they "were" playing defense.

The Globetrotters Showman will then begin to call to the players "Blue 22... Blue 34... etc." (And don't bother looking up to see who those players are, I made the numbers up.) Each player will then do a comedy routine when their number is called usually some kind of goofy dance, and in the case of the trotter snapping the ball he will passing gass.

That almost always gets a laugh from the kids if no one else. My nephew in particular would laugh for at least a good couple minutes when that happenes.

The Trotters eventually snap the ball and make a football play, scoring a "touchdown" on the foul line.

Then the trick gets more impressive as they will go backwards, along with the Generals who will also retrace their movements in reverse, until they re-enact the moment the routine started. It will then go into a regular basketball play with the trotters scoring.

Well usually scoring, no one makes 100% of their baskets so of course sometimes the shot is missed. But since everyone is too busy laughing by that point it doesn't really matter.

I will admit that this ream is usually more the work of the Globetrotters. But like almost all of their reams the Globetrotters don't work alone, and it takes all 10 players on the court to pull it off successfully.

It is worth noting that often times if the game is taking place in a city with a professional football team, that a local football star and/or coach will sometime be worked into the bit.

Which will have them coming out to play in the ream and usually resulting in the guest player either "scoring" or body checking and/or tackling one of the Generals. How many pro-basketball players have to deal with THAT during a game.

To a lot of people this ream is the epitome of how these games have become more entertainment than sport. Which is somewhat true. Obviously this kind of silliness, which goes on for a good five minutes or so, would not be allowed in a traditional basketball game. If nothing else they clearly ran out the shot clock.

Also, if you look at it objectively it makes the Generals look silly for just going along with it. In a true "real" game it goes without saying even if an NBA team were to try something like that (likely pre-game booze would have to be involved... and a lot of it) the other team would take the opportunity to get the ball from them.

But I say those guys are the same people that think point out pro-wrestling is "fake" is somehow impressive. They simply don't get it.

This ream is somewhat unique compared to most of their classic reams. While a variation of this has been done forever, it has evolved over time to the point that it has almost taken on a life of it's own. Unlike the bucket of confetti trick where the only variation on it is that instead of Meadowlark chasing Curly; Special K now chases Scooter, or Big Easy chases Prime Time.

But there is no denying it's popularity. If you need proof go on YouTube, where next to Big G's dance moves nothing in a Globetrotter game is filmed more often.

It may not mark the height of basketball skill, but for a Globetrotter game it marks something else. It is a chance to laugh and have fun. And as anyone who watches the Washington Generals play the Globetrotters will tell you, that is the part that will always stay with you.

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