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Dorothy and Toto need each other

DAY 20 of my 21 day writing challenge

“You don’t have a passport?”


“I guess, we’ve got to get you one.”

That was the Houston Rockets Office Mgr in 1992 finding it hard to believe that I was not an international jet setter.

The Rockets were playing the Mavericks in Mexico City for a preseason game in October of 1992 and as the mascot, I was invited to be a part of the festivities. I had been to Mexico for gymnastic meets in college and never needed a passport. I guess the rules had changed and having to get a passport gave me a GOOD case of the Dorothies. You know, that feeling that you’re on a great adventure, meant just for you, and Kansas can wait.

I don’t remember the game as much as I remember feeling like I was a part of the Rockets family. I was starting my second season and things still felt awkward in the office. Of course, Hakeem Olajuwon, Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith and other “stars” of both teams were going and it was a big deal that the marketing staff would want me there too. In the big scheme of things, it was the players’ and the staff's big adventure and I was really just having a case of the Totos - meaning I was just glad to get the “treat” of going along for the ride.

Pardon me as I continue to “Wizard of Oz” this thought.

Dorothy and Toto need each other. They help each other and may even love each other. Both benefit from the relationship but they are not on equal footing.

If “home” is that place where you’ve found your calling, you wanna be Dorothy not Toto. Because for Dorothy, there truly is no place like home. For Toto, there truly is no place like Dorothy…and Dorothy knows it. Let me be clear, Totos are important, necessary even and there is nothing wrong with being Toto unless you think you’re Dorothy. Totos that think their Dorothies don’t fare well.

I had a blast the first few years Toto-ing around the organization. I grew to really appreciate the opportunities that came my way. As dunking became more a part of my repertoire on the court, I began to realize that I could be good at it. As I became better, I decided I had found my calling. I was at “Home” flying through the air defying gravity with swag and authority.

Dorothy was right, there truly is no place like “home.”

Then the Rockets got bought, and the changes began to happen. That’s when I realized, I better Dorothy up cause Dorothies can manage without Totos but Totos without Dorothies don’t last. I barked, did tricks I wanted to do when I wanted to do them and made it clear that I wanted my own adventures and “treats” that reflected my true value.

I got fired June of 1994 to make room for a new Toto

Dorothies make deals with wizards Dorothies score points with munchkins and witches Dorothies inspire lions and scarecrows and tin men Dorothies negotiate “ruby slipper” contracts Dorothies will kill a witch and make it look like an accident Dorothies go on adventures and take their Totos along for the ride

Totos frolic, do tricks and be adorable Totos bark but not too loud Totos do just about anything for scraps of Dorothy food and “treats” Totos bite not the hand that feeds them Totos reveal wizards and warn of dangers and defend Dorothies Totos are happy just being along for the ride

Dorothies and Totos are a team and need each other and the team works when they know their roles.

If you, as a freesTYle dunker, feel like you have found your calling, If you are at “home” when you defy gravity and you want more than just scraps of Dorothy food and “treats”, welcome to my world.

The United States Freestyle Dunk Federation is the neighborhood to live in if freesTYle dunking is "home" for you. Follow the yellow brick road to to ENLIST NOW and repeat after me:

“There’s no place like home!” “There’s no place like home!” “There’s no place like home!”


I remain grateful

Girl holding small dog with both hands and both are looking past the person who has taken their picture
Dorothy and Toto

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