Johnny finds his sons: a Swish-A-Thon troll reflects

Talentless, jobless, and shameless people often tend to make troll teams… Or should I say: athletic, charitable, and entertaining people end up in troll teams.

I happen to be one of those people who often show up in troll teams, not only the latter characteristics but a mixture of all those six traits.  

I joined Woodstock in seventh grade and have all along seen troll teams in intra-school tournaments. Looking at seniors in troll teams simply messing around and having fun looked pretty appealing.

Well, at least until this year, when I figured out during Swish-A-Thon that the idea of “trolling” does not quite work well for me.

The first time I played Swish-A-Thon in 2018, I played as part of a troll team. Being a part of the team 8-Ballz, I was ready to have some fun on the court. We were trolls, and acting like it did not seem like a hard job at all.

Our aim was not to have people make fun of us, but we didn’t mind looking a little foolish either.

So, we decided to stick up pictures of Korean girl groups on our backs. It was all figured out–on the court, we all were to mimic the professionals: the famous and exaggerated Harden step-back travel, his euro-step travel, the list goes on and on.

We definitely got the reaction from the crowd that we were looking for. Some really cracked up at the pictures on our backs while others simply rolled their eyes at us.

The season for 8-Ballz began with a massive shock in the Win Mumby Gym when one of our members, Harssh Tanwar, took the jump ball. As he landed on the floor after his jump, the other four of his teammates felt a sort of earthquake and they were on the floor–the first attempt of the team trying to act like trolls.

Again, the crowd seemed quite entertained by us.

But turns out, self-control is not everybody’s cup of tea. Getting on the court seemed to have changed everybody’s goal. All of us wanted to have the ball and all of us wanted to score. We got competitive.

Little did we know history would repeat itself

Flash-forward to Swish-A-Thon 2019: we claimed to be a troll team despite having two senior basketball team members. 

“Johnny Sons,” we called ourselves.

Behind our jerseys, we had different names assigned to everybody: Plumber, Astronaut, Professor, Cop, Daddy, Dentist, FireFighter, and Taxi Driver. If you know, you know. 

With the younger crowd indulging in our joke about the names we had, the tournament began and we had the same goals in mind. We were going to be the trollest troll team ever. Granny-free throws, rugby passes, troll dribbles, all awaited our troll show.

Our first game was against Nice Guys, the potential winners of the tournament. We were ready to bring out the troll within each of us. The match began and the jump ball was won by our team.

Ten seconds into the game, Tanwar shot a deep three. Bank and in was the result. We were up by three!

Both the team and the audience were shocked but crazily hyped as well. A lot of the people were cheering for my team.

It all changed that moment on…

Thinking about a potential win due to the 3-point-lead, we got serious and started to play competitively. A shocker for both the crowd and the team–we ended up winning the match with the score 19-15. Beating a serious senior team was one of the greatest ever accomplishments–not an ideal one for a troll team, though.

We did not try any half-court shots, nor did we travel like Harden and Westbrook. But our hopes of winning Swish-A-Thon were much higher than the ceiling of the Win-Mumby Gym and we forgot the main point of our participation in the tournament. Once again, we had started playing seriously.

Our next two matches were meant to be against junior teams and hence, we were even more confident. But our hopes were shattered when we matched up against Hit or Miss, the team from ninth grade in our third game. They showed us where we stood not only skill-wise, but also our place in the tournament. Both teams played seriously but man, those kids had some endurance. And they were fast. My whole team felt like old, creaky, retired players while playing against them. They ruined our hopes of qualifying.

The fact that our aim changed after the first game was not the sad bit: not only did we fail to get past the group stages, we also failed to troll.

However, I was not sad when Swish-A-Thon ended early for us because I realized watching sports is just as enjoyable as playing them. The tournament finished on a happy note when I saw two of my grade teams reach the finals and another reach the semis.

 

Shivaansh Garg is the sports editor for The Woodstocker

Edited by Aarti Malhotra

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