Welcome to….Thunderdome?

                                                                      

Any readers who start to read this rapidly growing blog will inevitably start out with the following 2 intuitive questions; who the hell are you? And what is Thunderdome?

While my answer to question 1 will not have the name Rick James or Mike Jones in its response(pause for collective rolling of eyes) I can promise you that the latter is far more entertaining, and relevant to multiple topics in today’s society from entertainment, to sports culture, even religion(kind of).

Thunderdome is not a term to be thrown around lightly and 3 distinct events in my past, each with severe ramifications and consequences have shaped my love for the phrase. So without further ado, I give you the metaphorical keys to the castle, and the method to my madness; Thunderdome; 3 REASONS WHY:

# 3- Dane Cooke’s memorable cameo in Waiting

Anyone who hasn’t had the privilege of taking in this priceless take on the dark side of working in a restaurant has missed out on some of the most memorable comedy this decade has to offer. Not once can I think of a singular film that produces so many “Holy shit it’s that guy!” moments. From Ryan Reynolds, relishing his role as a creepy sex obsessed waiter who’s a little too old to be believable as a 21 year old.

By the way, is there anybody in our generation who is more destined to be typecast/probably ok with it than the original Van Wilder? In the film industry today, you must have 3 defining qualities before you can truly be considered a typecast 4life candidate. 1.) You must possess little to no acting ability 2.) You must have one thing and one thing ONLY that you do better than anybody else 3.) You must try to unsuccessfully crossover to other genres before returning to your roots. Reynolds plays this part to perfection with little or no redeeming acting skills, an uncanny narcissistic/arrogant tonality to deliver witty sexual one liners, and a miserable stint in Wolverine and that box office bomb alongside Sandra Bullock. But see him take his shirt off, make out with Tara Reid and utter the phrase “Dammit those circus midgets cannot hold their booze!” and all of a sudden it’s a comedic classic. In fact that brings me to my top 5 typecast 4life candidates as of 2010

1.) Adam Sandler- Throw out Spanglish and its literally the same movie every time

2.) Ryan Reynolds- see above

3.) Eddie Murphy- Although it hasn’t stopped them from paying him 20 million dollars a year to put out bombs like Meet Dave, it’s safe to say Warner Brothers has run out of ideas at this point.

4.) Channing Tatum- Perhaps the smartest of the lifers, as he hasn’t even felt the need to crossover yet, he just sticks with his guns….no pun intended

5.) Christopher Mintz-Plasse(Mclovin) Come on….that one’s too easy

But back to my original point, other than Reynolds, in Waiting we have Andy Milonakis(biggest one hit wonder in shows where the main actors name is in the title) that black guy from Boston Public and House, Justin Long(Apple Commercials/Rejected/She’s Just Not That Into You(ummm…..my friends told me about that one), Sloan from Entourage(Playing a lesbian no less), and Ana Faris pre House Bunny(Quietly Faris may set the standard for female typecasters). Honorable mention also goes to that guy who plays the restaurant manager who’s in seemingly every comedy ever made in some low capacity/throw away roll.

But none of the above even holds a candle to Dane Cook’s cameo. While he utters about 10 lines in the entire movie, none come close to his first line. As Reynolds is giving the new trainee a tour of the restaurant, he introduces the kitchen staff. Everything is fairly normal and the audience is finally starting to think, “ok maybe we’ve gotten though all the weird shit and this movies going to calm down now” stage- suddenly Cook pops into frame and wielding a 12 inch knife in one hand and a carrot in the other utters in a Silence of the Lambs esque tone “Welcome to Thunderdome Bitch.”- It’s one of the timeliest and memorable lines ever, point blank. Anybody who has ever seen this movie will recall this line like they saw the movie yesterday.

The reason it’s so effective is the movie is already taken on a weird tone, the audience has already been subjected to a bunch of dirty restaurant employees who spit in food and play a game in which the goal is to catch other employees inadvertently looking at their genitals(You gotta see the movie….) but at this point we think were returning to reality, a sense of normalcy, then BAM.

Gets me every time…….and it also sets the tone for the rest of the countdown.

# 2 Alcohol in Church?

This is not a misprint, it actually happened. Lots of alcohol, moshing, and under 25’s living it up….. in a church. Let me explain.

I recently graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, rated the 88th best college in America by USA Today(did I really type that out?) and the evening of graduation was to be our friend circles last night in Boston together. The dinners and drinks with parents and family members had ceased and it was now time to get down to the business of partying, one last time. While I had envisioned a night at one of our schools many dive bars, bowling at a popular hangout, or even bottle service at one of Boston’s many trashy overpriced clubs, the group had other plans. Some girls we partied with had caught wind of a church fundraiser held about 2 blocks from campus in which DJ and alcohol would be provided. Let me type that again for the hearing impaired…….A CHURCH FUNDRAISER, WHERE DJ AND ALCOHOL WERE TO BE PROVIDED. I will give you 3 guesses as to the name of the “Event.” Seriously everybody take a moment wherever your reading this column take a minute to pick your brain…………………..

Still thinking……………..?

Got it………..?

That’s right Folks…………………………A church fundraiser with music, and booze, LOTS OF IT…………………..entitled THUNDERDOME!

Now initially it took me a minute to wrap my head around the idea. But upon showing up to the First Jesuit Church on West Newton Street, and seeing the sign “Welcome to Thunderdome, Have your ID’s Ready,” I knew it was legit. After paying the $15 cover and receiving the obligatory permanent marker X on my right wrist we were allowed the privilege of entering the dome. The cover was the “donation,” while the cash bar inside would proceed to rape us for another $40+ each throughout the course of the evening.

On a side note, why is it that 65% of bars in this country feel that the half ass permanent marker “X” is the full proof way to confirm that a patron has in fact payed their cover and is entitled to drink in an establishment. The first line of defense typically is pretty bullet proof, don’t you think? 3 huge bouncers out front, followed by a giant cash register inside and a 2nd group of bouncers armed with markers and earpieces. I’ve never seen the need for this system. I don’t see many people spinning around these guys and blending into the dance floor, rebellious and X free.

The worst is when you’re in the shower the next night and you still have the X’s 80% showing on your wrists, now people begin to question your hygiene. And if you went to more than 2-3 bars in one night, forget about it.

Imagine how annoying this would be at sporting events. You wait 10 minutes to have your ticket scanned than Johnny Tightwad has to draw on you before you can even enter…………necessary? I think not.

But back to the dome, upon entering it was one of the most surreal things I have ever seen. From all accounts it looked like a normal church, however every corner that would be used for stereotypical church purposes served alcohol. The little corner by the front doors typically used for programs and donations, BAR. The discreet corner where the organ or piano is played on the second floor, BAR. The front right of the church where loving families whole heartedly accept the Body of Christ every Sunday, BAR. It was fun for all ages.

The scene on the dance floor, which literally took up the entire first floor of the church, was something unique to itself. Sitting in the pews on level 2 looking downward I can best describe it like this; You know those Law and Order or CSI episodes that start with a crazy rave type of scene. You know the alcohol is flowing, the ecstasy is popping, and all of a sudden a young girl rocking out to the gothic techno in the middle of the room begins to spin, only to wake up the next morning with her bloodstained body being photographed in some dark alley. It was that type of scene personfied. Never had I been to an event that was even close to RAVE status, but this blew the water off of my expectations. Creepy DJ playing thunderously(see what I did there) loud music with no words; just beats….check. Sketchy Goths everywhere in striped spandex and fedoras’….check. Token gay guys stealing the few hot girls actually present at the church…..check.

At the end of the night all members of my party made it out alive, but I will have a good Thunderdome RAVE story in my back pocket to break the ice with that girl at the company Christmas Party whose just a little too out of my league…..for years to come.

I have a feeling ThunderDome will level the playing field…..

# 1- Lebron James- a Hatred is Born!

So every Celtics preseason, back when they sucked, they would play a preseason game in various locations around New England. They’d go to Connecticut, Vermont, Providence, and even New Hampshire, as a way to bolster ticket sales and let their fans know that they were still important to them. Each year I would be one of the suckers who bought into this hype and meet my buddy who lived in New Hampshire to go to the game they played in Manchester.

As luck would have it, the Cavs, the first decent team that had ever come to the New Hampshire game, were in town on this rainy night in 2006.

I was ecstatic, because although I have had season tickets to the Celtics for the better part of the last decade, seeing Lebron alone is typically worth the price of intermission.

So as Pierce, Al Jefferson, and a young Rajon Rondo take the floor for warm-ups, all eyes shifted to the Cavs. Me and my friend scored seats 10 rows behind the Cavs bench and were eagerly waiting to be witness. Sure it’s a preseason game, but we figure well get at least get 15-20 solid Lebron minutes, plus a pre-game dunk show of biblical proportions right………right? I mean the team had no reported injuries and it was only their 4th preseason game out of 8, FAR too early to start sitting marquee superstars….Right?

Wrong.

After waiting and waiting….and waiting……finally the door to the Cavs locker room opens one last time about 7 minutes before game time and its Zydrunas Ilgauskus in his wine colored warm-ups, walking next to LEBRON………..whose wearing street clothes.

Now the crowd’s reaction at the time summed up the power of Lebron even four years ago. After a few collective groans everybody gravitated towards Lebron in the entire building. Referees Ceased stretching, Celtics and Cavs players alike stopped lay-up lines, hell even Michael Olowakandi stuck his head up from the Playgirl magazine he was reading to watch Lebron. What was he doing you might ask….nothing. Joking around with Assistant Coaches, dancing to the occasional song, and discussing with his boys where they could find a good steak in New Hampshire after the game…..didn’t matter. There are only 3 people I have ever met that have this type of command over a room. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Arnold Palmer. Period, for different reasons everybody shuts up when they walk into a room(I will now allow 30-45 seconds of silence for obligatory Tiger jokes)

Everybody feeling better now……..?                                 

Good

The game itself proves to be naturally uneventful save the occasional Gerald Green “Wasn’t this guy supposed to have changed the game and become a reliable second fiddle to Pierce by now” moments. But then it happened……just before the second half Lebron was walking out of the tunnel and a fan sitting right by the entrance leans down and screams “Hey Lebron…..WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME BITCH!” It was a funny comment, I admit this was that guy that gets you laughing 3-4 times at any miscellaneous sports event with his clever one liners directed at whoever the visitors may be. And the thing that’s great is these comments are ALWAYS taken in stride. The entire section laughs, the drunk feels validated, and we all move back to the action………..right?

Not Lebron

Lebron immediately whipped around and spotted the perpetrator. He swiftly tapped on the shoulder of his boy who travels with him during the season and began pointing at the fan who had made the remark. His boy then proceeded to the other side of the court, grabbed a New Hampshire State Police Officer and brought him over to the Cavs bench and begin pointing. When the two had trouble pointing out exactly who the culprit was, Lebron physically walked over(the second half had now started no less!) and made it a point to make sure the cops knew exactly who it was. He then watched in glee looking over his shoulder every 10 seconds as the guy and his friend were escorted up the stairs by an entourage of security large enough to protect Obama.

It was this moment that I lost all respect for Lebron James. Think of any marquee player/star of our time. How would they have handled it? Kobe would have ignored it, Barkley would have laughed, Hakeem or Dirk wouldn’t have even understood it, and Jordan’s tunnel vision literally wouldn’t have allowed him to hear it. But to do what Lebron did. The bitch move of the century………UNFORGIVABLE.

Now I don’t know what his motives were:

Maybe he hasn’t seen Waiting

Maybe he heard the words “thunder” and “dome” and mistook it for some African American sex slur

Maybe he hates Dane Cook with a passion.

Maybe he was just having a bad day

I don’t know and I don’t care. But I do know attending over 500 Celtics preseason, regular season, and playoff games since 1999 I have never seen anything like this. The games most elite icon resorting to childish playground tactics just because “he can.” He showed a startling lack of a.) Sense of humor or b.) Focus…. that cemented in my mind his fate in this league. Is he the greatest genetic freak in the leagues history…..probably. Will he win multiple MVP awards and scoring titles, I’m sure of it. But will Lebron ever take on Jordan status and lead a team of Steve Kerr’s and Bill Wennington’s to an NBA title? To me the proof is in the pudding.

For the meantime though I hope the aforementioned 2500 words gives you a little insight into the title of this blog. It is a phrase that holds special meaning for me and the legend has only grown with time.

It’s going to be a fun year folks and I would like to take the time to officially and cordially say to you:

WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME! David Button is a regular contributor to the token sports blog and the founder of the Thunderdome Column. You can reach him by email at tokensports@gmail.com

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Posted on May 18, 2010, in contributor, Lebron James, the thunderdome, thunderdome, Token Sports. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Button, I'm impressed! I actually enjoyed reading this…you have sort of a PG-Tucker Max style. My only comment is about the restaurant manager from “Waiting” whom you referred to as always having a “low capacity/throw away roll”. I think you might be forgetting that this actor (David Koechner) had an integral role in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, as Channel 5 news team's sports reporter Champ Kind. How do you “throw away” Champ and his signature sign off “WHAMMY!”?? Minor oversight on your part, I'm sure. Seriously though nice job with the article!!

  2. Dave, when talking about the Thunderdome party in the church, and I quote “Token gay guys stealing the few hot girls actually present at the church.” Were you in fact talking about yourself?

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