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Monologue by Michael Prunty

Prunty, Michael
Morton, Kelsha
Date of Interview: 
Childhood Adventures; Tolerance and Respect; Relationships with people and places
Michael Prunty talks about his experiences playing basketball.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Kelsha Morton interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
MP (Michael Prunty): This story is about Michael Prunty growing up, with sports. I first started off playing football, and they gave me the nickname called Slim 'cause I was so skinny. Of course you can't say that now. Look at all them muscles there, that you love. Uh, then I tried to, uh, go into baseball but baseball is, I didn't like it too much 'cause you had to stand out there in the hot sun, all day waiting for somebody to hit the ball out there to you so I started playing football. But then, uh, in my junior, uh, high years I, me and this young man named, we called him Coco, we, uh, hit this guy on the last play and, uh, he fractured his neck and his leg. After that I realized that I didn't want to, uh, continue into that so, I, uh, started playing basketball a little bit more. When I was, uh, younger, the guys used to laugh at me 'cause only thing I could shoot was a hook shot. They thought it was so funny 'cause I couldn't do nothing else with the ball so, I would go in my back yard and I had a little rim on this tree. I used to run up the tree and dunk and that's how I learned how to dunk and after that I started playing more and more with the guys that, uh, down at the center. At the center was a lady named Judy. I had a real bad attitude. She used to put me out just about every other week. Me and some of the guys we'd get in there and start mixing it up, rumbling and bumping and she'd come in and try to correct it and me and my mouth, it'd get me in trouble. I should've known that was a sign for later on but I didn't take heed. Then, uh, I played and became, uh, one of the star players on my junior high, uh, team from, uh, eighth grade and my ninth grade, went up to, uh, start playing 10th grade ball. Actually, I started playing after the ninth grade season, I got, uh, moved up for the rest of the, uh, 10th grade season. Played there for a little while and got moved up to varsity. I thought I was going be the man and all that so, I, uh, continued to work on my jump shot and things like that 'cause I planned on using that to get into college and I'd seen a lot of, uh, opportunities in playing, uh, basketball and another thing that I noticed that with sports it, uh, helps you to gain a personality by mingling with different people and being able to, uh, be around different, uh, attitudes, different, uh, personalities and dealing with them. I definitely if I had kids, they would, uh, definitely play sports, girl or boy, or I would try to, uh, direct them towards sports. Uh, I started becoming one of the stars of my high school and yeah, a little bit started going to my head listening at the women or should I say girls, calling your name when you're on the free throw line, so I thought yeah, you know, I'm going to be this big star, come out go to college, possibly make it to the NBA or overseas one. And, uh, my, uh, senior year I went to a football game and, uh, to see my cousin play 'cause he was like the star quarterback for the high school and, uh, I got into like a little altercation but, uh, I transferred to this school called Lawn Park to be with this, uh, guy named O'Dell Hodge. He was supposed to been the best center around but of course, come to find out, he was just, just another person. And when you look up to people and you think that they, uh, are so good because the way they play a sport, sometimes you have to check their personality. You realize that they're not, uh, all that they're cracked up to be. So I went there and, uh, I had a lot of publicity through the newspaper that I suppose to bring them, take them to the state and all this talk and hoopla about me, uh, being the deep threat shooter which was all wrong, I was a driver and a scorer but I wasn't, uh, what you'd consider a shooter [long pause]. Then they had to, uh, around and, uh, have practice like during off, the season hadn't started so the coaches couldn't practice with us or anything like that but we'd go in the gym, run and get in our, and do our conditioning to get in shape for the season. And, uh, the first time I stepped onto the court it was like the whole school stayed after just to see us practice and see me go up against O'Dell. And we played totally different positions but we ended up checking each other, trying to prove a point. Um, I realized that I was better than him and I thought that that was going to carry me. Uh, practice started getting a little rough. Um, a little name calling, coaches started showing favoritism but I still wanted to play for them and I stayed there and I played, uh, games, you know, started the season and I started averaging like 28.5 points a game so I just knew when, uh, I started getting, uh, schools coming, talking about scholarships, asking me to visit their campus and stuff like that, I just knew I was on my way and, uh, I still allowed my attitude to come in play later on, when I was with the coach. So I stopped playing for them and I ended up getting in an argument because the principal wanted to call me in and tell me that I was wrong, all because the coach was going ask me to stop shooting. And I felt like me being a black player, O'Dell being a black player, and the coach being black that he should've found a way to allow both of us to show our talent. If he was a great-, if he was a good coach and, uh, I eventually just graduated and, uh, tried to come down to Charlotte, uh, right after to try to get invited to, uh, Pro-AM, or try to get, uh, an invitation to try out for overseas playing. I, uh, was doing well but I didn't have enough recognition like coaches or, uh, agents so I couldn't get a letter, uh, its called an invitation letter but, uh, after I realized that I allowed my attitude to mess me up I had a cousin coming up behind me that was, uh, a great athlete that he had sort of the same problem with his attitude, he was quick to, uh, snap. And I went to one of his games and I saw him snap at, uh, this coach, so after that, I pulled him to the side and I told him, you know, "Don't do the same thing that I did," you know, "Don't mess up your career and allow your attitude to put an end to a great career." So I, I guess he listened. He's doing well now but I felt like if I couldn't go and I wasn't able to, uh, share my talent with the world or with a-, to further my, uh, career that I would help young kids coming up that might have the same problem or I could help them, uh, even with their skill play then that's the thing that I, I feel like a lot of our older players and older guys that were great because they didn't go, they wanted to be selfish and not share that with younger guys to help them be able to get out and do well. And like now I feel that if the older, uh, adults or some of the so-called playground legends, would get involved with some of these younger guys, we wouldn't have a lot of this, uh, lack of talent going through high schools now. You know, you look now and you have maybe three or four guys that come up and they just, they're good but they're not playing against, uh, great competition so it seems like they stand out and they get all this recognition and all but you have some of the best players that's sitting on the corner smoking or selling, thinking that the fast money is, uh, the best way out. And I just hope that it'll come a time that we get back involved with our youth and, uh, allow sports to do what it did for me and that's to, you know, one, it gave me a, uh, better outlook on life and I, uh, you know look at it as that I could have done things different but in a way I, I look at it, if it wasn't meant. If it was, I believe God would've allowed me to, uh, make the steps that I, I should've made then. And, uh, I, I sometimes look at things and, and wonder what it would've been like, how life would've been different if I wouldn't have, uh, got hot headed and quit and cussed at the coach and thought that I should be, you know, the one to do this and that. But I could have humbled myself enough to just say you know, "Look Michael, you can get from up under his system, go to college and then really show what you have," and that's what I try to instill into my little nephew, uh, his name is Little Tee and he's coming up just like his father, he's a, his father was a great athlete. He was one of the guys that we looked up to when we was coming up, you know. We heard about him, how well he was, uh, all around player, baseball, football, basketball, as well as track. He could do it all and his son is coming up the same way. I was at home, um, the other weekend and he asked me was I going come to his first, uh, baseball game then he, uh, turned around and said, "When football come around, are you going to come to that first game and then when basketball come around?" I was like, "Little Tee, you're going to have me running back and forth to, uh, Virginia for the longest." And he just wants to be able to play every sport but I guess because, you know, to me, if you're able to play all sports then you can take on a lot of things in life. If you, uh, look at, you know, like basketball, you miss, you got to keep trying. If you look at your job opportunity if you don't get a job, you don't stop trying to get that job, you know you, continue to try and go in your field and, and that's what it has taught me, that you have to, uh, continue to try. 'Cause if you give up on, you know, sports you'll give up on life. You'll give up on things that you should try to follow your dreams. And right now I, I feel like I'm following one of my dreams and trying to start my business and stuff like that but, I do sometimes wish that I could have the opportunity to, uh, try to play, you know and, and try to go to that next level. I, uh, hope that I have been able to tell a story to share a little part of my life and why I love the game so much, you know, sometimes I play it because I didn't make it, so I still try to live out my dream even on the hard top. And I really appreciate Kelsha asking me to tell a story and making me feel like that is important that she hears my story. Thank you.