I lace up my Chuck Taylor high tops in a New York basket weave -- not the normal straight style for me. I want to stand out and show the world that they shouldn’t mess with me. I pull down my socks so that they crumple atop my highs, put on my gray shorts-pull ‘em down so that my jock strap is seen on my back-and slip into a T-shirt that says "In your face, I do it with grace." Ya see, I’m goin’ back ta Citrus -- ta Citrus -- ta Citrus.
To many, Citrus is just an elementary school located at Citrus and 4th avenue, but to many others it’s the ultimate place to play roundball. The three full courts all have baskets of different heights: one at eight feet, one at eight and a half, and one at nine and a half. From dawn to dusk on weekends and from 3:00 to 8:00 on weekdays, games are played. In Chico, there is no better place to hoop.
Ya see, on eight-and-a-half-foot baskets everybody can create. Pretend that you’re Larry Bird, Charles Barkely, Magic Johnson, Cheryl Miller, and, of course, Michael Jordan. Anything is possible: twenty-foot fadeaways, reverse gorilla dunks, alley oops, and sweet drives down the lane. It’s the place where fantasies become realities: top of the key, jab step, cross over, down the gut, split the D, rise to the occasion, double pump, 360-degree right hand "slam jam bam" as Dick Vitale would say. It’s a game of fast breaks, quick shakes, pump fakes, and talking trash in your face.
But before you decide to go play at Citrus, ya gotta have an understanding. If you’re new you’re gonna have to prove yourself. And if people start talkin’ about Sir Ronald, understand that Sir Ronald is the only man known to have completed a Double Dip. No, it’s not at Baskin-Robbins. A Double Dip is when a player dunks the ball and before it hits the ground takes it out of the air and dunks it again. Understand and respect the veterans and you’ll stand a chance.
I finish lacing my shoes, step through the wire fence and call "winners." Everybody looks,...
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