Jared Reiner: Just Rolling With the Punches

Jared Reiner: Just Rolling With the Punches
May 13, 2010, 05:18 am
While waiting for the nail-in-the-coffin free throw with 3 seconds left in overtime, I see an opposing fan singing and dancing on the baseline only a couple feet from me. No, it wasn’t a kid, but a well-dressed man in his 50s. Then I saw one of our well-heeled fans in a put-your-dukes-up stance not far away. There is no way these guys are going to fight I was thinking to myself. After the opposing player makes his free throw, we lower our heads and walk to the locker room in defeat. That’s exactly when the crowd erupts and punches start flying.

In Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon I was relaxing at home after a light workout when my agent called to say a club in Puerto Rico is interested in me. Not thinking much of it, I told him to let me know. I have been around long enough to know not to get my hopes up. Having your agent say ‘a club is interested in you’ is way different than ‘a contract is ready to be faxed to you.’ In this instance the stars happened to be aligned and a couple hours later I was offered and only had a few short hours to decide.

By 7 pm I had accepted the offer and by 9 pm I was all packed and on my way to a mind-numbing migraine from all the stress. I guess barely knowing the who, the when, and the where while only knowing the how much had gotten to me. Or maybe I was just sad that due to her schedule Jennifer wouldn’t be able to come enjoy the journey with me. Either way, at 11 am the next morning I was on a plane bound for Puerto Rico to become a Gallito, which is Spanish for a small fighting rooster. They have only 2 and a half weeks left in their season and are trying to qualify for the playoffs with me as reinforcement.

I landed in San Juan late Friday and got checked into a hotel around 10 pm. On Saturday I was up by 6 am and was driven 2 hours to Isabela, which is a small beach community on the northwest side of the island, for an 11 am practice. After grabbing lunch with one of my new teammates I stopped by Wal-Mart. A few random things including new bedding were needed for my apartment, which happens to be 40 yards from the beach. A nap was needed before I was off to that night’s game, in which I played all but 2 minutes. Unfortunately, we lost in overtime.

On Sunday, I woke up and took my team-provided Dodge Ram pickup for a little drive to get my bearings and some groceries, but accidentally locked myself out of my apartment in the process. So I called our team liaison, Rocky, who was once ranked in top 20 in the world as a surfer, to see how we could remedy the problem. Just when I think I can maybe relax on my day off and enjoy the beautiful weather I have to find someone to help me unlock my door on Mother’s Day. The crisis could have easily been averted with a spare key, but apparently the player who was staying there before took the keys with him just for spite.

While waiting I ended up walking down the beach and relaxing at a restaurant for a couple hours before I went with Rocky to watch some of the NBA playoffs. Finally at around 10 pm someone came and basically ripped of my doorknob to let me in. Surprisingly only some of my groceries spoiled in the 85 degree weather.

So yeah, I am literally just ‘rolling with the punches’ down here with more on their way since we play against our arch rivals tonight. I guess the last time we played this team the game was stopped 3 times because of fights in the stands so this should be an experience. Maybe I will see a good fight or two, but more importantly I hope we can get out of there with a win.

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