Jul 6, 2011

Roberto Talks Macedonia & The Backboard
Roberto Nelson has been getting a lot of publicity lately because of the video (below) of him shattering a backboard. It happened in a pickup game against a semi-pro team in Macedonia, where Roberto was with several Oregon State athletes as part of Beavers Without Borders.

The group built a house in a village and also put up a basketball hoop, which they made out of a bike tire rim and some rebar. They branded the wooden backboard with “OSU.” Joe Burton, another PTHO kid, also made the trip.

“To see how people live there and experience being out of the country, interacting with different people, it was incredible,” Roberto said. “The people weren’t anti-American, they were very cool to us.”

He said he hopes to go to a different country next summer, either with Beavers Without Borders or another group. “I’d love to go to Africa,” he said. “The way some people live down there, we could build a house or something and really help.”

He has lots of stories from his trip to Macedonia, and a video diary of sorts can be found on YouTube. Now, as for that dunk . . .

“No way the rim should have came down,” he said. “It was a breakaway rim on glass. Obviously something was wrong with it. I’m not that strong.”

He said that when he came down he knew he had glass all over him but didn’t think he was cut badly. He ultimately got between eight and 10 stitches on his face and then another 10 on his arm. He said the hospital in Macedonia was nicer than he expected and “everyone there was cool but I just couldn’t understand what people were saying.”

For several hours after he left the hospital, he continued to pick glass out of his skin. He found a small shard in his ear and cut himself trying to remove it. A women’s soccer player on the trip patiently sat with him and removed piece after piece – from his scalp, his back, his shoulders, etc. – which took several hours.

“After that, it didn’t hurt bad. I didn’t even need to take the pain medicine they gave me,” Roberto said.

Roberto doesn’t think he will have a scar on his nose but likely will have one on his arm. I asked him what the women in Corvallis thought of wounds.

He reminded me that school was not in session and said: “There are no women in Corvallis right now. None.”