Near the end of my senior year of high school, a student vs. faculty charity basketball game was planned to benefit the March of Dimes. A few of the seniors and I wanted to do something a little extra for the game, and I came up with the idea of making our team a set of jerseys with t-shirt iron-on transfers. There was an immediate and unanimous decision to name the team after Chuck Norris, and after floating around potential names like “Chucksters,” we decided on “Team Chuck.” After filling out our roster, I went around and got plain, white t-shirts from everyone that wanted a jersey. I spent the night before the game working on an old computer designing the shirts, printing and cutting them out, and ironing them onto the shirts. The computer was so old, it only had a one-gigabyte hard drive.
The front of the jerseys featured our “Team Chuck” name above and below a cut-out of Chuck Norris’ head. The top-left of the front read, “STUDENTS vs FACULTY BASKETBALL GAME; MARCH 17, 2006; MAUREPAS GYM.” The top-right was blank, save for two exceptions. Our coach Chase Delatte (a senior) had a shirt that spelled out “Coach” with the letter “C” sporting a Chuck Norris-esque mullet. The team captains, Lucas Stowe (another senior) and myself, both sported the “mullet C.” The jersey number was split on the left and right sides of Chuck’s head. Everyone picked their own numbers. I told them I didn’t care what number they wanted, so I found myself making some jerseys with numbers like “3.14,” “07,” “XVXI,” and “.5.”
The back of the jerseys near the neck had a small Texas Ranger badge. Under the badge was the player’s name or nickname, and under that was the player’s number. There was also a small block of text on the lower back, but I can’t remember what it was for. It was probably a quote from Chuck Norris or a motivational message.
Like any good high school basketball team, we had a plan for pre-game warm-ups. I thought we should run out to the theme from the television show “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Lucas wanted to use Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” theme. We compromised and used both. Lucas also had a large American flag that he planned to run with and wave around. It vanished a few minutes before warm-ups, so we had to do without it.
After we had already started layup drills, the teachers ran out for warm-ups, and the boys’ head basketball coach, Evan Balfantz, was leading the charge with Lucas’ American flag. He had swiped and hidden it in the girls’ locker room, which was being used by the faculty team for that afternoon. We never would’ve found it since Team Chuck was using the boys’ locker room.
I won’t lie about it. We got beat bad. My excuse is that we were trying to make sure everyone got at least two quarters of playing time, regardless if that person was a basketball player. The faculty team was doing the same, though not nearly to the same degree.
It’d be pretty cool to bring back Team Chuck in the future for some kind of game or event. That beat down needs to be avenged somehow.