In honor of our Mens Basketball entering the NCAA tournament as a #1 seed, The Gator Grind is rehashing a past article from Pat where he talks ice breaker stories and generic questions he is asked on a daily bases.
Patric Young here again and let me say again how thankful I am for this opportunity to be writing to all who want to listen. Allow me to break the ice with a funny story I did not mention in my post about Africa. So on twitter there was a debate whether or not I looked like Oklahoma City Thunder player Serge Ibaka. Most of my followers said yes, but I wasn’t buying it. When I arrived in the Houston Airport with my Africa crew, Trey, Will and I decided to walk around to pass some time. We walked into some small magazine store and there was a young man working behind the register. All of the sudden he just explodes and screams “Serge Ibaka!!!” and of course he looks right at me. My response was “Naw bro I’m not Serge Ibaka,” but this kid just insists and really wants to shake my hand. Trey Burton (being the clown that he is) grabs an ESPN magazine with Ibaka blocking a Lebron James’ dunk on the front and says we should take a picture with it. To this day I think that kid still believes he met Serge Ibaka, but it was only me, Patric Young of the Gator Nation.
What do you guys think?
It’s not unusual for people to approach me in public (most don’t call me Ibaka, though!), and I enjoy talking to people, but here are a couple questions that hey, if I had the choice, I wouldn’t mind being eliminated from our conversations…
How tall are you? I don’t know if people were raised with bad manners, but my parents raised me to say hello and introduce myself before I go up to a random person and just ask them a question about themselves like that (or stare at someone like he’s a circus freak). It does get annoying sometimes but what Will Yeguete and I have figured out is that you have to have fun with people. When someone asks me how tall I am, I may respond with “A solid 5’7, 5’8 in basketball shoes.” (Sometimes people believe me or they don’t… but it’s better than having the same conversation 10 times a day.) I also wonder how does knowing how tall I am really help benefit a person’s life at all, I’m just wondering. You want to know what really cracks me up? When I tell a person reluctantly that I’m 6’9 and they’re like “Naw bro you like 7’1”. All I can do is laugh and try not to be annoyed… but it is very hard, something I have to pray about. Another thing that is really funny is when I’m out at some popular social area and random people are like “You’re tall as S#*+!.” My two responses are either To look at that person in the face and walk away or I say “Umm thank you I think”. I am still bewildered as to why someone wants to inform me of the obvious. I was 6’2 in 8th grade so I have been “tall” for a rather long time now.
Do you play basketball? When people ask me this, there are a few routes I can take. (I actually have the most fun with this question.) If I’m in a good mood, I’ll say, “Yes I play ball for the Gators, I wear number 4 and Patric Young is my name.” It is pretty funny when the person says, “Alright, I’m gonna be watching for you.” In my head I’m like, first off I’m never going to see you again and are you really going to “Watch out for me”? What does that even mean? But my favorite response to this question is to make up a story that includes me playing some extreme sport in a different country. Quick story, I was training in Orlando at a gym and one of my trainer’s clients came in a little early for his session. He starts to ask the question and it pops in my head that this guy is going to get it. I tell him I am an Olympic table tennis player and that I just competed up in Lithuania. My trainer plays along and talks about my sponsors and how I have a special made paddle. I guess all the lights weren’t on in this guy’s head because he believed everything we were telling him. I really believe this guy had his own page in the dictionary to give people a visual to go along with the definition of gullible.
Do you mind if I dunk on you? Yes, I actually do mind if you dunk on me. (People don’t really ask they just do it.) I’ll be out at some social area and again some random person will get in my face and either just say “I’ll dunk on you!” or will perform the act of dunking a ball and physically body me and throw an invisible basketball on me. I guess I can relate: when I was young I also dreamt of dunking a basketball, but never did I get all in someone’s face and really imagine I just Shawn-Kemp-old-school threw a tomahawk dunk on someone’s head.
I don’t want you to think I hate being approached–it’s the exact opposite. I love interacting with fans or just people in general. I’m a regular guy who has just been blessed with talents and abilities that have separated me from other athletes across the world. I have had some great interactions with fans and it is very humbling hearing how kids want to be just like me when they grow up. To everyone reading this… ask me something interesting if you run into me (Something like “Hey Patric have you read any good books lately? I don’t know something along those lines though) (might be fun to include a funny parenthetical here, like an interesting question you wouldn’t mind answering – that way, you’ll also know that they read this). It will really make my day knowing that you actually read this. I just want to thank you for your time again and I hope you enjoyed. Go gators!