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  • I've been waiting to take this to a sporting event...

    Deanna Hardies / Colorado Daily

    I've been waiting to take this to a sporting event for years. When the time finally came, I had to leave it at home because the aged foam disintegrates to the touch. I didn't cry. That would be illogical.

  • As I learned this month, a "rim rattler" does not...

    Deanna Hardies / Colorado Daily

    As I learned this month, a "rim rattler" does not involve snakes nor is it a synonym for tossing a salad.



For International Women’s Day, I saw a dude get kicked in the plums.

The plan was to take the day off and try something new. A while back, a friend learned that I had never been to an NBA game, or any live basketball game for that matter, and invited me to go see the Nuggets host the Wizards.

This colleague and fellow “enemy of the American people” is an accomplished player who used to dribble circles around Division I studs during his college days, then went on to coach in the Canadian underground and once wiped the floor with LeBron in a game of HORSE. OK, some of those may be alternative facts, but it’s true that the man knows his hoops. To preserve his anonymity, let’s call him … Salamander Birdnest.

I want everyone to win, so I’m usually not much of a fan of competitive sports. But I couldn’t pass this up, not just because an expert’s guidance and enthusiasm can make any topic fascinating, but especially because Sal promised me I’d get to see people doing trampoline dunks.

I’m the kind of person who looks up lyrics before I go to a concert, so in the days leading up to the game, I enrolled myself in a little independent study. I browsed rosters, watched highlight reels, learned that Kevin Durant was a cupcake and learned what a “cupcake” is.

When the day finally arrived, I learned how utterly unprepared I was. I met up with Sal and a few of his friends before the drive to Denver, and right from the tipoff, I felt culture shock. I had to bite my lip and try not to giggle at terms like hardwood, balling, up-and-under, rim rattler. These guys were speaking a foreign language.

I’ve never felt so much like a nerd as I did that night (and I have sung J-pop karaoke while dressed as a ninja at an anime convention). Over the course of the evening, I revealed my profound ignorance of hoops in addition to rock climbing and the founding fathers of hip-hop. I was so far out of my element, I fell off the periodic table. If you want cheesy chemistry jokes, I’m your gal. But for this outing, I was totally out of my league (the only one I belong in involves Pokemon).

I was utterly humbled but also, as it turned out, thoroughly entertained. Highlights of the night included watching a person dressed in a cougar costume sink a half-court shot over the shoulder. And those plums I mentioned earlier? They belonged to the Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee, who sustained a hit to the sprinkles late in the fourth quarter. The instant replay drew a collective moan from the crowd. Our sympathy pain was eased only by the fact that, to his amazing credit, the big man managed to get up and play the rest of the game.

My one disappointment: No trampoline dunks! What the hell, Salamander? You said it was a sure thing.

I challenge you to a rematch.

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