Tripple Overtime: Practice and plays just crazy enough to work 60 percent of the time, all the time

Date Published: 
April 28, 2017

We had this super-secret-type play during my days on the middle-school lacrosse fields at St. James Academy.


It was called “Cornell,” and it went like this:

Alright, so after a timeout someone calls, “Cornell!” then all three attackmen and all three midfielders go up past the restraining line and make this, like, circular enclosure/huddle, and put the ball in the middle, while the other team’s defense just kind of stands back and scratches their heads wondering what it is exactly that’s going on.

Then, whoever is supposed to take the ball (usually this kid named “Bartlebe,” I’m pretty sure), went running down the field with everyone else who didn’t have the ball but who were pretending that they did have the ball by cradling really hard and gearing up for a pretend shot on goal, and then the kid, who I’m pretty sure was named either Bartlebe Something or Something Bartlebe, would finally shoot and either make it or no.

My dad was our coach and thought the play up, which isn’t really relevant to the rest of what I’m about to say, but the play worked, like, 60 percent of the time, all the time.

So, but anyway, it got me thinking about all the other crazy-enough-to-work and/or not work strategies and sports and a few of them are these:

Head girls’ lacrosse coach at Indian River High School, Kelsea “Captain Blood” Ayers has long been known for her just-crazy-enough-not-to-be-considered-torture-tactics in regards to strength and conditioning, mainly taking the form of casual post-victory 5Ks, which, thankfully, do not mean “5,000 miles” but, honestly, might as well when it comes to Captain B.

So, but anyway, apparently Sgt. Sanguine Fluid (blood) decided to ease up on the troops over spring break, since it was spring break and all, and to let them sound off on an unsuspecting piñata instead, with the goal being to improve accuracy, and also the goal being to score more goals.

Sounds like fun and just crazy enough to work, sure, but take from the former goalie who’s conveniently misplaced his athletic cup every time Professor Plasma (blood) challenges him to a shoot-out… I would not want to be that piñata.

From catching bricks to catching bombs

Jerry Rice has, hands down, the best hands of any NFL wide receiver all-time.

Interestingly enough, he got those hands not by practicing catching footballs, but by practicing catching bricks.

As a teenager back in Mississippi, Rice used to stand on the scaffolding and catch bricks tossed to him by his father, who worked as a brick mason.

He also used to chase down horses — one of them named Pete — a practice to which he attributed how he got his speed.

Talk about just crazy enough to work.

Uncle Pickles is nuts

While the First State Pickleball Club’s Vaughn Baker may go by a variety of handles, including, but not limited to, “Baron,” “The Baron,” “The Sultan of Swat” and “The Vaughn’father,” his alter ego “Uncle Pickles” is probably the least conventional, pickle-wise.

So when Uncle Pickles was trying to teach Point photographer and my own personal Eskimo amigo Shaun M. Lambert the game, what Uncle P. did was put a number on each individual pickleball, and he then had the Eskimo call out the number before sending his return shot.

With the glasses, Shaun doesn’t see so well, and with the socks and sandals, he doesn’t run so well, either, so the just-crazy-enough-to-work strategy didn’t really. Maybe The Baron should have used the numbers of Seahawks’ legends or flavors of Mountain Dew instead (necessary exposition: Shaun really likes the Seahawks and Mountain Dew).

Washing Mike Ditka’s car

If “wax on, wax off” worked for the Mr. Miyagi, then you know it’s going to work for Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.

With the Tigers in last place in the 2005 soccer cult-classic “Kicking & Screaming,” Ditka’s just-crazy-enough tactic was to have the team’s smallest-statured player, “Beyonson,” who Ditka referred to by a variety of first names, including but not limited to “Beyonce” and, somewhat inexplicably, “Bing-Bong,” wash Ditka’s car.

While Ditka’s explanation for the unorthodox soccer practice was: “This has nothing to do with soccer, I just need my car washed,” the Tigers ended up winning the championship. So you tell me…

Well, there ya have it — some even more unconventional practices and plays than the one my dad dreamt up at St. James Academy and that only worked when Bartlbe was on his A-game. Here’s to the crazy ones.