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London Calling: Gabe Olaseni's Dream of a Better Halftime

Iowa's sophomore center hopes to bring a bit of merrie olde England to Iowa's halftime proceedings.

Gregory Shamus

Deep in the bowels of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the top secret halftime entertainment committee is meeting....


Redpandaicon_medium I say we bring back those guys who dunk off of trampolines. [Flips bowl on head]

Herkyicon_medium Yes, but which group? TNT Dunk Squad or Team Turbo Dunk?
Humanslinkyicon_medium I must bestow my imprimatur on the TNT Dunk Squad, for I find their aerial acrobatics to have an effect upon the audience as explosive as the trinitrotulene in their name.
Herkyicon_medium Eloquently put. So they cost $500 and they are avail --

A tall figure bursts into the room

Redpandaicon_medium What is this disturbance of the private council of halftime entertainment planners? [Flips two bowls on head]
Humanslinkyicon_medium Whoever it is, his stature is positively Brobdingnagian.


Drolaseniicon_medium Apologies, sirs, madam, it's me, Gabe Olaseni.

Herkyicon_medium Gabe, of course. If you're looking for the practice court, it's just down the hall and up ten flights of stairs.

Drolaseniicon_medium But I came to see you. It's about halftime.
Redpandaicon_medium Surely you don't have a problem with the entertainment? We hire only the finest acts who are willing to work for $500 or less. [Flips three bowls on head]
Drolaseniicon_medium It's not that -- it's the length.

Herkyicon_medium I know 20 minutes is a lot of dead time, but there are rules we have to follow ---
Drolaseniicon_medium -- No, it's not too long -- it's too short!
Humanslinkyicon_medium Balderdash! How capacious an interlude would you ask of us?
Drolaseniicon_medium An hour, minimum.
Herkyicon_medium An hour!? Are you mad? What for?
Drolaseniicon_medium Where I come from, a proper athletic respite involves the taking of tea and snacks. It takes at least ten minutes for tea to steep, two minutes for it to cool, and another 14 minutes to eat the watercress sandwiches and other assorted dainties.
Redpandaicon_medium What do you do with the other 34 minutes? [Flips four bowls on head]
Drolaseniicon_medium Discuss the political scene in the Ottoman Empire with one's opponents.
Herkyicon_medium That may be how things go in England, but -- wait a minute, do you have a butler with you?
Drolaseniicon_medium Naturally. Every English gentleman has a manservant to serve as chauffeur, cook, valet, confidant, advisor, etc.. Isn't that right, Oglesby, what, what?


Oglesbyicon_medium Indubitably, sir.
Herkyicon_medium Josh Oglesby? Is that you? But you're a backup shooting guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes, not a butler.
Oglesbyicon_medium That was my apprehension as well, sir, until Mr. Olaseni pointed out to me that with a name like "Oglesby" there was a high probability that I was, in fact, a butler, and if not, that I, in his words, "bloody well should be." His logic was impeccable, so since that day I have been under retainer as Mr. Olaseni's gentleman's gentleman.
Drolaseniicon_medium That's quite enough, Oglesby.
Oglesbyicon_medium Yes, sir, my apologies. With your permission I will take this opportunity to press your uniform.
Drolaseniicon_medium Yes, yes. Go. [Oglesby departs] Servants should be seen and not heard, as far as I'm concerned.
Herkyicon_medium So you want an hour long break to drink tea and discuss international politics with Tom Izzo and Adreian Payne?
Drolaseniicon_medium Yes, or the behavior of the royals or gentlemanly club life.
Redpandaicon_medium And then the game would proceed as normal? [Flips five bowls on head]
Drolaseniicon_medium Heavens no. I envision a comprehensive revision to make basketball a more gentlemanly, dignified pursuit. First, we would need to change the dimensions of the court. Instead of a cramped 94 by 45 rectangle, we would have a broad grass-covered oval measuring approximately 70 yards by 80. [Unrolls blueprints]


Herkyicon_medium No.
Drolaseniicon_medium And instead of a helter-skelter competition for baskets, we would have an orderly series of encounters where defensive players would hurl or "bowl" the ball at the offensive player, who would then attempt to direct it into the basket with a long, flat wooden bat.
Redpandaicon_medium No. [Flips six bowls on head]
Drolaseniicon_medium And games would go on for days at a time, with multiple breaks for tea and snacks.
Humanslinkyicon_medium No. You're describing cricket. No.
Drolaseniicon_medium And naturally Carver would have to be torn down and replaced with a new outdoor complex with room for stands, a tea-serving area, and, naturally, servants quarters.
Herkyicon_medium No, stop talking, no.
Drolaseniicon_medium In fact, we could probably get rid of the hoops and even save money by using a smaller, harder ball. In fact, I brought a prototype.


Redpandaicon_medium No. [Flips seven bowls on head]
Drolaseniicon_medium And I haven't even showed you the new uniforms I had a teammate model for you:


Herkyicon_medium That's it. We're going to have to kill you. Release the fly-ball dogs!
Drolaseniicon_medium Egads! I'll evade them by running down this long hall way.


Drolaseniicon_medium Drat. The door is locked. I'll just run to the other end.


Drolaseniicon_medium Locked again. what about the door?


Drolaseniicon_medium Damn my luck. It's locked!


Drolaseniicon_medium Locked once more!


Drolaseniicon_medium Blast! Locked!


Drolaseniicon_medium Locked again! These dogs are indefatigable. Why won't they tire?

Oglesbyicon_medium If I may make a suggestion, sir...

Drolaseniicon_medium Oglesby! Thank goodness you're here. I'm in quite the pickle. These blasted canines won't cease their incessant chasing.

Oglesbyicon_medium Yes sir. The problem is that you have inadvertently recreated their natural milieu. They won't stop running until you give them that which is their raison d'etre.

Drolaseniicon_medium Speak English, man.

Oglesbyicon_medium The ball in your hand, sir. That's what they are after. Get rid of it, post haste!


Herkyicon_medium No, you fool!

The ball sails through the gaping aperture at the end of the Human Slinky's arm and lands with an oddly squishy thud. The Human Slinky is devoured by the flyball dogs.

Herkyicon_medium You... You've killed him! [weeps] Of all the slinkies I have encountered in my travels, he was the most... human.

Redpandaicon_medium Soooooo.... we have an opening for next week's halftime, I guess? I'll call the nearest local dance team. [flips eighth bowl on head, bows, unicycles out of room]

Herkyicon_medium Oglesbyicon_medium Drolaseniicon_medium Whitecricketicon_medium Dogicon_medium
[Polite applause]

Drolaseniicon_medium Do I get to make my changes to halftime, then?

Herkyicon_medium Considering that this is all your own fever dream after eating some bad fish and chips and falling asleep while watching BBC America, sure, why not.