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MORRISSEY: Get ready for some Rick shots

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Updated: March 5, 2013 11:35PM



I can count on one hand the number of times I have played Pop-A-Shot. Actually, I could probably count the number of times on Captain Hook’s prosthesis.

And it doesn’t matter. That’s how confident I am about beating the old-timer from Peoria and the butter churn he rode in on.

The Sun-Times and ChicagoSide.com are hosting “Pop-A-Shot Madness,’’ a tournament featuring Team Morrissey, which will be composed of All That is Right With America, and Team Telander, an unfortunate collection of misfits led by my fellow columnist, Rick Telander, the pride of Peoria Richwoods High School.

For $15, you can take part in the March 13 tournament, as well as eat, drink and hang out with the two of us. It’s a ridiculously good deal, if you’re into the four major food groups of beer, pizza, basketball and sports talk.

You might be asking yourself: Why is Morrissey, who has hardly played Pop-A-Shot, so sure he can beat Telander? Three reasons, friends:

◆ I have intel from several sources that, when it comes to real basketball, Telander can’t shoot. No, you don’t understand. I’m talking about prodigiously bad shooting here, the kind that would make even the gushiest cheerleader go into a profound depression.

◆ Telander, in a moment of introspection and openness — in other words, before he knew about this tournament — once told me he had a woeful outside shot.

◆ The only thing I could do well as a basketball player was shoot. If I had to guess why my per-game minutes my senior year at Fenwick High School also could be counted on Captain Hook’s hook, it would probably be that. But it looks like an inability to jump and defend is finally going to pay off!

I’m aware that none of this automatically translates into Pop-A-Shot dominance for Team Morrissey. The only swishing sound Telander knows is when his corduroys rub together, but it doesn’t mean he’s incapable of shooting a small ball into an arcade-game rim. Pop-A-Shot is to basketball what the kazoo is to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Still, I worry not.

As many of you know, Telander was an All-Big Ten cornerback at Northwestern in 1970. Few people know that he held a single-season punting record at NU for years or that he was a member of the swimming team for one season. But God, in his infinite wisdom, had said to Himself, “I will give this child much, but one thing will be taken from him so he knows he is not divine.’’ That’s how Telander’s jump shot came shrieking into this world.

The only question now is whether I need to start practicing Pop-A-Shot at the Sun-Times Game Center, which is where the event will take place. I’m not sure people understand the devious nature behind the genial, engaging façade of Telander. I know that, even now, he is staring at a candle, the way Shoeless Joe Jackson used to do to improve his eyesight.

Team Morrissey will shoot lights out. No practice or eye exercises necessary.



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