Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Jack Nicholson Story

Game 3 Recap

Since I am a poor loser, I will only write a few brief thoughts about Game 3. When final shots are being taken by Kobe Bryant and Eddie House (although I love him), the advantage easily goes to the Lakers. Pierce and Garnett must’ve partied late into the night at Barney’s Beanery because they looked hungover at the Staples Center. If these guys don’t bring it, the Celtics are in rough shape.

But instead of going into an in-depth analysis, I’m gonna write about Super-Laker fan Jack Nicholson, and my brief yet memorable connection with him.

You Ever Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight?

In 2004, I worked at a wealthy private middle school in Los Angeles; A place where money did grow on trees. Celebrity parents dropped off kids from their brand new “environment friendly” Hummers. Parents also featured people like Ari Gold from Entourage. In fact, my advice to anyone trying to make connections in the entertainment industry is not to work in tv/film, but instead in education. But I digress.

My job: I coached the middle school boys’ basketball B team. We were the equivalent of the bad news bears, and did not have many fans. Most parents/fans came to see the A team play because they were better and because a certain celebrity Dad would be there.

I was shocked/amused to see the Joker himself, Jack Nicholson, sitting in the bleachers before the first A team game. He was in the front row wearing shades just like it was the Lakers game. He rooted on his son who we’ll call William. Jack was usually the biggest celebrity although I do recall Denzel’s son playing versus Jack’s son one game. Two Oscar award winners were shouting at middle school refs—it was classic.

Occasionally, my B team needed some ringers and one of them was William. He was a decent athlete, a pretty good kid, but a hardcore Lakers and Yankees fan just like his dad. (Did you know Nicholson wouldn’t wear a Boston hat in The Departed because he hates the Sox? Next time you see it, notice his hat is blank.)

You Can’t Handle the Truth

William enjoyed playing for me because I was a good coach, but more so because he could dominate the B-team opponents. My team usually struggled, but one game we were actually destroying the other team. Up by 30, I took William and the other ringer out of the game. They were not needed anymore. I swear Jack gave me an evil glare from the bleachers, but who could really tell with those shades on.

William then did what most kids would do that in situation: he begged to go back in. He nagged and nagged until I finally turned to him and asked him a few questions.

Me: You wanna go in?

William: YES! Please!

Me: Who’s your favorite baseball team?

William: That’s easy. The Yankees!

Me: Who’s your favorite basketball team?

William: The LAKERS!

I shook my head. He got both answers wrong. Now remembering that I was a Boston die-hard, William asked for another chance.

Me: Who’s your favorite baseball team?

William: The Red Sox!

Me: Who’s your favorite basketball team?

William: The CELTICS!!!

I let out a big smile. He chose correctly.

William: Can I go in now?

Me: Nope!

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

My behavior was stupid, immature, and slightly cruel. It also severed any chances I had of getting Jack to star in one of my scripts. But I thought it was awesome.

As far as Jack, I did meet him once. I introduced myself and probably said something stupid that I can’t remember. (Probably similar to the embarrassing moments I’ve had with Larry David, Matt Groening, Hank Azaria, Fred Savage, the list goes on.) It wasn’t groundbreaking, but he was polite enough, and I thought it was cool.

So last night when I saw Jack in the front row with his shades on, all I could think of was this story. Jack may have been happy about last night’s game, but I’ll always have the upper hand because I converted his son to be a Celtics fan even if it was only for a moment.

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