Illustrated by Rosenthal
|No. 18 – Retired|
|Species||Goat ( Bovidae )|
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||242 lb (110 kg)|
|FBA draft||2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21st overall|
|Selected by the Santa Fe Whips|
|Pro playing career||2005–present|
|2005-2015||Santa Fe Whips|
|2015-2018||Las Vegas Wildcards|
|Career highlights and awards|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Godfrey Zindendel is a male goat forward currently playing for the Las Vegas Wildcards.
Selected 21st overall in the 2005 Draft by the Santa Fe Whips, Zindendel is an FBA All-Star and 1 Time FBA Champion (2007 with the Whips). He married fellow Whips player Micaela Ramos in an unpublicized ceremony in 2014. The couple have an adopted goat son named Justin. Micaela retired at the end of the '13-'14 season to tend to be a full-time parent to their son.
| UNDER THE RADAR|
Written by Chrys Bourgeois
© Chrys Bourgeois
| UNDER THE RADAR:
Godfrey Zindendel is on a mission to become the G.O.A.T. And he doesn’t care whether you notice or not.
It’s a goal that Godfrey Zindendel seems to believe he was born to accomplish. And he’s already halfway there, at least in the literal sense.
“Well, I’m already a goat, right?” Zindendel says light-heartedly to a small group of now chuckling reporters as he relaxes in a folding chair on the sideline of the Whip’s practice court, a white towel drapped over his shoulders. “Being the G.O.A.T. should be in my blood.”
It’s already on his flesh, a striking black ink scripture written across his otherwise purely white furred skin, achieving maximum contrast and readability. That scripture reads, “Don’t be the ‘goat. Be the G.O.A.T.” And although it sits on the top of his left forearm, it might as well stretch across his chest, because it’s a message he takes to heart.
“Every day,” he says when asked if he uses that message and the cheeky, yet overdone goat/G.O.A.T. comparison to fuel his desire to be the best. “I can’t stop trying to be the best. The second I stop trying to be the best, I’ve failed my potential. I’ve failed my team. And I won’t allow that to happen.”
The sheer resolve of his words can be described as astounding. So can his career averages of 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists per game for a 25 year old fur with one championship ring and plenty of room for improvement.
But what’s more astounding is the fact that, like that white towel which adorns his broad, white shoulders as he entertains the media, his game blends in, almost unnoticed, into the fabric of the FBA. A showcase of talent that is so quietly efficient, it’s like it’s always been there, since the first time a round, orange ball was bounced upon a shiny, hardwood floor. His numbers, his accomplishments in a career only 6 years old make him worthy of MVP consideration on a yearly basis, yet amazingly, hardly anyone outside of Santa Fe and a pawfull of FBA statisticians and super fans seem to notice.
And, contrary as his aspirations for greatness may make it seem, that is exactly what Godfrey Zindendel wants.
As I sit in the 3rd row of a set of creaky bleachers in need of repair, drinking my 2nd energy drink that morning and watching Zindendel shoot jumpers and run through mundane, tedious workout drills with his trainer, along with a few other Whips players (What up Alyssia!), I experience a bit of a surreal moment, an epiphany or sorts. I realize that reporters like me sometimes take for granted the opportunities to meet and talk to some of the finest athletes of our generation. Sure, it’s our job to lob questions at them, questions they’ve heard a million times, and record each wavelength of their response in a small sound recording device. That’s what fills newspapers, magazine, blogs and website articles, and it’s what puts bread on the table. All in a day’s work, as the mantra goes. But sometimes, if a member of the media at large gets a chance to take a step back and simply take in the responses rather than take them down, they will learn something about a furson, a common fur who just happens to be an extraordinary athlete with the blueprint for greatness written into their DNA. It’s something that might not be very obvious to those who skim the surface and make little effort to understand not just the answers to their inquiries, but the mind that invents those answers.
For example, an outside observer might peg Godfrey Zindendel as extremely confident, perhaps overly so, in his abilities. That same observer might think that Godfrey has an ego the size of Mt. Everest, or that he’s full of himself, or perhaps even selfish. Maybe Godfrey Zindendel seems, to the outside observer, like he is mostly concerned with etching his individual place in FBA history, becoming the first name on the tongue tips of those who may utter the word “Legend”.
“That’s not what I’m about at all,” refutes Zindendel, his laid-back demeanor and calm, monotone voice hiding any possible tinge of defensiveness over his public image. “It doesn’t matter to me what others think, but if they thought I was all about myself or in it for a bunch of personal glory and recognition, they’d be wrong. I simply know that for my team to be the best it can be, I gotta be the best I can be. I owe it to them to be the best possible player I can. And that’s how I approach things.”
Born and raised in Greenfield, IN, a small town outside of Indianapolis with about 20,000 furs, young Godfrey was brought up by a single working mother, who instilled in him a small town mentality and a few good, core values which define him to this day. Humble, hard-working and always grateful for what they had, his mother always put family first and did everything in her power (and as it seemed at times, well beyond) to ensure the kids were well taken care of, while expecting nothing in the way of praise or backpats. Those qualities have carried on in her FBA superstar son, who is never shy in mentioning where it is he got his relentlessly hard-working approach from.
“My mama made me who I am today,” he shared with a heartfelt smirk, eyes softly aglow at the recollection of his dear mother, who still resides in Greenfield in the house Godfrey grew up in, albeit now with a few new modifications and renovations made possible by Godfrey’s new 5 year, $80 million contract with the Whips.
“I admire her so much. What she was able to do with me and my brothers, and all by herself… I think becoming a star in the FBA is probably easier than what she had to go through to keep us all fed, clothed and on the right track in life. She had to work multiple jobs and do all that stuff that she probably didn’t want to, but she had to do it, and she never complained. I just go out and play the game I love for a living. Her job was much harder.”
When asked what some of the most important values his mother taught him were, he replied “Honor, humility, never taking anything for granted and always being thankful. Workin’ hard and never thinking you can’t achieve something that you want to do.”
Great! Anything else?
“Yeah. Be great, but don’t get a big head. That’s not cool,” he said with a smile.
Summer of 2010. The Offseason. The list of notable free agents is long enough to make Longcat blush and avoid eye contact. Doral, Valencia Zeraus, Charles Yotechuk, Rodger Umaechi, Erich Haber, Ryan Malone, Billy Joe James, Shane Rufus, Carl Esteban, Dat Mongoste, Lenny Hicks… enough big names to fill a guest list at the Ursa Major’s.
In among that mixture of talent was Godfrey Zindendel, coming off of a season that saw him finish 3rd in MVP voting behind Buck Hopper and John Stoat. And since B-Hop and Bad Ju-Ju weren’t going anywhere that year, it could have been assumed without sounding silly that the largest bidding war in the FBA would be raging for The Garbageman. The Santa Fe Whips, bracing for impact from multiple high dollar bids, set the bar pretty high, but not unreasonably so, with a starting bid of 5 years for $80 million.
Weeks went by as bidding wars erupted for the likes of Aisha Melbourne, Marcus Baylor, Bill Bent, Georgette Hawyer, Ryota Akanishi, Baru Greene, even Seth Ross (*hits “Save” on article, just in case*). Yet surprisingly, no other offers came in for Godfrey Zindendel. Not one.
Of course the Whips breathed a sigh of relief, but surely Zindendel had to be at least a little upset at such a blatant slap in the face, right?
“Nah, not really. I was gonna sign with the Whips anyways unless someone offered like $150 mil or something,” he admitted in a moment of candidness.
But no one did. It’s like either nobody wanted his services or they thought their efforts were futile, as the Whips would surely match any offer made for the 3rd highest vote getter for the MVP award.
That, or Godfrey Zindendel just never came to mind.
“I’m used to it, and I’m ok with it,” Zindendel insisted when the story of his offseason monogamy was brought up. “A lot of furs don’t know what I do, and not many furs pay attention to the Santa Fe Whips. Even though I get pretty good stats, (See? I told you he was humble) a lot of furs don’t know my name. I still just kinda fly under the radar, you know? But that’s fine. It’s less pressure on me. I’m not here to sell jerseys or anything. I’m here to help get the Whips to another chip.”
He’s won one already, though it’s hardly enough to satisfy his insatiable appetite to be the best. As a rail-thin rookie drafted in 2005, Godfrey Zindendel teamed up with a quickly emerging powerhouse in the paint, Svenia von Thomassen on a Whips team that also featured the skills of antelope forward, Noah Cooper (now with the Moonshiners) and Jeff Hutchinson, the now retired kangaroo rat point guard who is most well known for his clutch shots in the title run against the Clefs in the first round and the Bikers in the conference finals, earning himself the nickname “Clutch Hutch”.
Godfrey was still green behind the ears and learning the pro game when he hit the playoffs, having been scooped up late in the first round that year by the ready-to-compete-now Santa Fe Whips. He was pleasantly surprising in his postseason debut, playing a convincing second fiddle to the monster in the paint, Svenia von Thomassen, who, being the first and only chakat to play in the FBA, nobody was even the slightest bit sure of how to defend. Zindendel was tantalizing in every round, but none more than in the conference semi-finals against the Howlers, where, during one intensely exciting span of 3 minutes near the end of the fourth quarter with von Thomassen already fouled out, he matched Shane Rufus shot for shot, including a fallaway dagger from the left baseline that made it a two possession game with 8 ticks left. Zindendel finished that game with 32 points off the bench, a franchise high for a rookie in the playoffs and a definite glimpse of what was to come in the following seasons.
Still, that postseason success mostly belonged to Svenia von Thomassen and the other veteran Whips players. Now, along with von Thomassen, Godfrey is a leader on this team, and he makes his teammates better leading by example. His no-nonsense, tough-nosed approach to the game and willingness to do the little things to win gives his team a star that isn’t afraid to leave it all out on the court and mix it up a little to get his team over the hump.
After all, he didn’t get the nickname The Garbageman by hanging out on the perimeter or shying away from contact. He does the “Dirty Work” (as his other tattoo says) by cleaning up messes in the paint, getting offensive rebounds, diving on the ground for loose balls, hounding other players on defense, and generally just trying to outwork every other player on the court, including his own teammates. Add that to an automatic-from-18 midrange jumper, the ability to get any shot off under pressure, quick, crisp handles and an ability to get to the rack, finish and get to the stripe, and you’ve got a guy who does all the right things, all the little things to help his team win.
He just doesn’t get much attention from it. In fact, he barely made the All-Star game this year, which was decided by fan voting, despite averaging 26.4 points per game, good for 3rd highest in the league. The player who took his starting spot?
Blanc Mange. A rookie averaging 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Spokane Rapids.
“Not a lot of respect,” Zindendel says with a shrug and a slow head shake, albeit with a smirk on his face. “But,” he adds, “at least I made it.”
I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get Godfrey Zindendel on the radars of the casual FBA fan. Maybe he’ll have to average 40/20/10 one year. Maybe he needs to actually get an MVP under his belt, not just consideration. Maybe a couple more chips will do the trick.
Or maybe none of that will be enough.
But Godfrey Zindendel doesn’t care about any of that. He doesn’t care about highlight reel spots or MVPs or personal accolades. Heck, he wouldn’t care if they took his number and name off his jersey and sent him out there in a shooting shirt. Maybe even make him wear a mask. It wouldn’t matter, because Godfrey Zindendel only cares about winning, and winning alone, even if he receives no credit for it.
“Well… I mean… you know, a little recognition would be nice,” he finally admits with a hearty laugh and a mile wide smile, giving in to the pressure of my 2 hours of poking and prodding him for a confession.
“But I ain’t trippin’. If I can help get the Whips to the chip, and I know in my heart that I genuinely helped this team, it don’t matter who out there knows my name. They can make me play with a paper bag over my head and a couple of eyeholes cut out. I’ll still get 30 or at least help my team get the W.”
That’s the confident, cocky guy I’m supposed to be interviewing! Since quitting while I’m ahead isn’t in my vocabulary, I push it a step further.
So Godfrey, do you believe you will one day be referred to as “Greatest Of All Time?” Is that, in any small way, a goal of yours?
He gives a hearty chuckle and glances down at his feet, that white towel on his shoulders still blending in with his white fur, now sitting there as unnoticed as the fur whose shoulders it sits on. Yet it still soaks up sweat as it sits there, getting no attention or praise for its efforts. It still does its job, noticed or not.
“I dunno man,” he finally relents. “We’ll see.”
For now, Godfrey Zindendel will have to settle for being the G.G.O.A.T… the “Greatest Goat Of All Time.” And whether or not anyone notices, that can’t be taken away.
He’s already halfway there.
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Ryan and Godfrey
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