Brian Hamilton: Karma, transfer rules and the ‘Running Man’ |

Brian Hamilton: Karma, transfer rules and the ‘Running Man’

Emptying out my notebooks, after working on my moves for Friday night’s Daddy-Daughter dance, I just can’t shake the fact that, apparently, there is absolutely no statute of limitations when it comes to karma in the sports world.

So there I was with the ball – and the game -in my hands with somewhere less than 10 seconds left on the clock. Forget the fact that I was running in exactly my second basketball game in the past 15 years, my guys still gave me the ball with everything on the line.

“Three! Two! One!” someone shouted.

I launched a last-second flyer from just inside the 3-point arc.

The only problem was there were about five seconds still on the scoreboard, when the ball clanged off the back of the rim.

Hook, line and sinker, I had bitten, swallowed, and then choked, on one of the oldest tricks in the book.


It was 24 years since that Babe Ruth baseball game, when my shortstop and I had stooped to such a level, ourselves.

Unlike my moment of glaring gullibility at the gym a few weeks ago, the game was not on the line as the Markhon White Sox were matching up with the Cole Automotive Mets. So after a friend had slid safely into second base on a passed ball, our Sox shortstop smiled to me and said “foul ball.”

Taking my cue, over at second, I slapped my glove and told the baserunner the same: “Foul ball, Max, gotta go back.”

Poor Max. A fellow member of my own high school wrestling team, who certainly had every right to trust his teammate, started to jog back to first base.

Of course, as he hit the midway point, our shortstop shouts “First!” to our catcher, who easily gunned Max down.

Shrewd? Sly? Savvy?

Let’s go with unsportsmanlike, which is why I found my 38-year-old body leaping smack into the stage behind the basket at old Sierra Mountain School, with hopes of saving my ill-advised wayward buzzer beater that had beaten the buzzer all too early and was now bouncing out of bounds.

As I crashed into the stage wall, a jolt of pain flared from my backside, shot up through my spine and eventually settled squarely on my conscience. After all, the bruising of my buttock was nothing with that of my pride.

Max, buddy, I got what was coming.

Even if it took its sweet time, karma did come back and, quite literally, bite me in the butt.

– – –

Back to those notebook pages … I noted the Sac-Joaquin Section’s strong statement this week, concerning a lawsuit filed on behalf of Remi Barry, a 6-foot, 7-inch, 18-year-old “elite French basketball player determined to be ineligible to play for Del Oro High School due to eligibility violations.”

Barry, as the Sacramento Bee has reported in its comprehensive coverage of the case, transferred to Del Oro for his senior season after one year of attending school in Florida, where he alleges he lived through a “horrific” home life that included neglect and racist attitudes by his host family.

Barry’s supporters, including his Del Oro area host family, deem the section’s ruling to be “Draconian” and misguided as they suggest many involved parties – including Barry himself – have not spoken with section officials about the transfer request.

But among other findings, the section points to a former St. Mary’s College coach allegedly “shopping” Barry around to high schools, including one Bay Area school, prior to the transfer. As the Bee reported, the section cited an e-mail exchange in which the former St. Mary’s coach tells another high school coach “it’s all about getting him to St. Mary’s.”

The case will be heard, but Del Oro has just six games still on the schedule prior to the playoffs. Whether Barry is granted the opportunity to play for the Golden Eagles, this much is certain: the California Interscholastic Federation and the Sac-Joaquin Section are taking a hard line on what appear to be athletics-motivated moves.

“Contrary to assertions made in recent media coverage,” the statement reads, “all parties had an opportunity to present any and all information pertinent to this case during the appeals process, which involved a five-hour hearing throughout which Mr. Barry, his host parents – Chris and Lori Hendricks – and their attorney fully participated. The former basketball coach found to have served as an agent promoting Barry’s athletically motivated transfer had an opportunity to participate, but apparently chose not to.

” Finally, this matter is not about Remi Barry as a person or his skills as a highly coveted, superstar prep basketball player. It is about how people have sought to manipulate the system to advance their own agendas.”

– – – 

Some of the small crowd on hand at Wednesday night’s Bear River-El Dorado girls basketball battle might have left McCrory Gymnasium with a bit of a bitter taste in their mouths – and not from the impressive effort the Lady Bruins put forth in attempting to stop El Dorado’s 23-game win streak.

Though disappointed by the 51-45 loss, Bruin fans were likely also wondering what Cougar coach Pat Winter was thinking when he called a timeout with the ball and two seconds still showing on the scoreboard – right next to his team’s final six-point margin of victory.

Winter’s in-bounds play failed.

But, really, what was the point of adding another bucket?


“I apologize,” Winter said, just seconds after shaking hands with Bruin coach Jeff Bickmore, following the win over Bear River. “It was classless and it was my fault. We were just competing and trying to get something done.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Bear River and for Jeff. It was wrong.”

Give the guy credit for immediately owning up to what he deemed to be unnecessarily unsportsmanlike.

At least it didn’t take him 24 years – and being bit in the butt by karma – to recognize it.

Now, back to working on those dance-floor moves, so I’m sure not embarrass either of my darling daughters accompanying me to the Daddy-Daughter dance, which, by the way, benefits a great cause in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition of Nevada County (

Let’s see. How did that “Running Man” thing go, again?

Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. Contact him via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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