(I took the time to start a series of posts going through the terms of basketball for my boyfriend, but also pulling in some fun by taking my favorite sport and making a story of it. Here is the first scene)
I have played games for years. The appeal came early when I was dragged into my first tabletop RPG – Role Playing Game- a prototype version of Mech Warrior. I sat down at a table, was handed a character sheet for a girl fighter, and told to just play.
Halfway in the game, after doing nothing, the storyteller says “Kate, you’re in a bar fight, and a big guy is coming at you with a smashed bottle in his hands, what do you do?”
“What? Why would he come after me?” I asked.
“You are in a bar fight. What would you do? I will help you with the dice just tell me what you would do.” He said.
I said the only thing I could think of as a 15 year old girl. “I’m going to kick him in the privates!”
All the guys laughed and I was the only girl. There were comments that girls can’t play correctly. I had weapons, I had laser enhanced sights in my eyeballs, yet best I could do was to kick the attacker where it counted. The storyteller told me what dice to roll to see if I would succeed and I did. Then, he told me to roll dice to see how hard – the damages- I could inflict on the bad guy attacking me. I rolled four dice, each one had six sides and I rolled four sixes.
For those of you who don’t know games, that is the equivalent of kicking the bad guy with Robocop’s boot and Superman’s strength. Since at least one of the dice was a six, the top score, I got to roll twice more before they stopped me. I didn’t understand why they stopped me rolling dice until I looked around the room. The guys were in various stages of being doubled over, holding cover over their anatomy, or looking at me as if I grew horns. Apparently I rolled really well. That one kick obliterated the bad guy’s sensitive area, turned his insides to mush, and made me persona non grata with the RPG group.
There is a love/hate relationship with any game, even basketball. The discussions lately centered around the Utah Jazz circle about their terrible ranking, weak bench, or how nobody seems they will get far out of the gate. I think, that everyone needs to start evaluating this as the game it is. To help with that, I have created the visual tabletop card game and set the first scene as a storyteller.
In the harbor of the Zions Bank Center Practice Facility the game is set for the season. Dennis Lindsay aka Captain Picard sits at one side holding a brand new deck of Star Trek playing cards. Karl Malone sits in his favorite fishing outfit with his illustrious hand of Magic The Gathering cards. Behind him, deckless but none the less apparent was John Stockton. Coach Ty Corbin sat well pleased with his advanced set of World of Warcraft, Reign of Fire cards.
Last, but never least, sat the decorated Coach Jerry Sloan. Sloan had not brought a set of cards, instead delved his unabashed knowledge of White Wolf Role Playing Games to hand paint the Jazz players as figurines of various Vampire, Mage and Werewolf persona’s.
“Seeing as this season is your first with brandishing players without the expectational hype of greed, presence, and blatant arrogance; we will make this simple. Each of you must not only lay out your starters, but show what special denominations you bring to this team in hopes of advancing to a competitive level with the rest of the teams.” Stockton said.
“Say What?” Corbin asked.
“The goal of this first game is to show me what you have, so I can set a storyline for you all to compete with. Keep in mind that someone is always working against the group, you will not be able to figure that out till half season.”
“That’s easy. Raw skill.” Malone replied.
Grunting, but not hinting at anything, Sloan set out five figurines for the starters: Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. He believed that this was what the fans wanted, and it would be good to show their limitations early. Sloan lowered his John Deere hat on his head, and glanced at Lindsay.
“I pulled the trade for Trey, but you cannot set him as a mage right off the bat. His skill needs to be honed, and apprentices never do well without a mentor.” Lindsay commented while setting a card on the table. “I give you the Artifact Card of Data’s Head. I mean John Lucas III.”
Stockton read the card. In 2369, an excavation under the desolation of the Chicago Bulls, revealed the head of John Lucas III had been there for centuries. Used as an equipment card, it added cunning ten, and computer skill. While on the floor, spacing, shooting percentage and facilitation were at a +2.
“Trey Burke can work. He says hes going to be rookie of the year. He also has firmly planted roots at being this team’s leader. To help with that, I bestow on him the Legacy of Horde card. It brings an ability to double the damage your allies make, and half the damage they take. An ability masked as an artifact” Ty Corbin put in to boost the decision of Lindsay and the point guard shuffle.
‘I have something like that.” Malone added, shuffling through his deck. “I bestow the Warriors Lesson, Mercury Shoes on Burke.”
Not completely sure that Malone should be delving into the point guard area, Corbin leaned forward to get a good look at the card. The Mercury Shoes was a learning ability that allowed you to draw on three possible cards on the floor at one time, once your crossover was challenged, to complete a play. It allowed you to gain power from the experience of a point guard challenge. “I will allow that” He added.
“You are giving this rookie point guard too much leeway. No rookie in history has been given such gifts. Are you intending on him to lead your team, or be your team? To balance this, I must play a storyteller fate.” Stockton replied, walking around the group. He leaned over Malone, only because he would allow it, and slapped a card on the table.
The Rack and Ruin card laid bare within dooms reach of the mage apprentice figure Sloan set on the table. As all of them read it, they realized that perhaps too much too soon had been placed on the rookie. Fate always had a way of balancing the tables. The card destroyed both artifacts of Mercury Shoes, and the Legacy of Horde. They watched in concern as Trey Burke broke his finger on his shooting hand during preseason. Was all lost?
“My people are bound by masters centuries dead. Each artifact we destroy is another link broken in that chain.” Stockton quoted off the card’s description.
As the others felt woes early, Sloan realized it was his turn. However, he saw no worth in introducing more blood this round. Instead he passed his turn to Malone. “The artifacts are dead and buried for Burke, but perhaps an archaeologist can help Malone?”
“What am I supposed to do for a point guard?” He asked confused. After a moment the idea hit, and he spilled out a card from his Magic Deck. “I will play the John Stockton Archaeologist. It allows you to pull an artifact from the graveyard.”
Stockton glanced at the card, then at Sloan, wondering if he knew that much. “Which artifact are you recalling?”
“The Warriors Lesson, Mercury Shoes.” Malone responded. He was only confident in the artifacts that he could give.
“Fascinated by the lore of ancient struggles, the archaeologist searches incessantly for remnants of an earlier, more powerful era. That artifact can only be pulled from the graveyard if you have a worthy apprentice to place it on. With a broken finger, Burke is out of the game for a bit.” Stockton reminded Malone.
“Yes,” Sloan agreed. “However you did not just give pointers and a week’s worth of training to just one point guard. You trained Alec Burks as well. With the artifact of John Lucas III’s head and the Mercury Shoes, he can fulfill the point guard role with a supporting cast.”
“Then show me what you have for Burks’ supporting cast.” ….
I would like to take the time to acknowledge David Locke. He has reiterated what I drafted in my post. It is vitally important to me that everyone remembers this is preseason. In years past everyone stated that the true tests would not come until December, or even until the All-star break. There is no reason to demand drastic changes now, when everything is being field tested. All it takes is a little faith in the storyteller.