Some of you are enjoying my reminiscing; so am I! So here are 5 more.
- Last year my classroom was on the mezzanine up over the old gym at Sunrise. I enjoyed interacting with the players as they were headed to their coach’s office or out the side door to their bus. I really had fun asking them if they knew why the basketball baskets had backboards. Without exception they were like me and had never thought about it. I learned that question and it’s answer while helping a player do research for a paper the year before. So, let me tell you….originally, baskets did not have backboards and gym were set up just like the old gym at Sunrise. The fans stood around on the balconies and watched the game down below. Some of the longer-armed fans would reach down and block shots, swatting the ball away from the basket. When officials could not convince schools to police their own behavior, they influenced the powers that be to require a backboard behind the basket…to prevent people from interfering with the players shots! I had the most fun when I told some players about it when we were actually standing up on the balcony and they could ‘practice’ knocking balls away. With the long-armed young men we had/have at Sunrise, we could have prevented every opponent from scoring entirely!!
- Another memory that I have always occurred in the spring after the basketball season was over. I’d be up at school to tutor or for some other reason, and I’d walk into the new gym. It would be dark and silent. Occasionally , as if placed there by some artist, there would be one lone basketball lying on the floor somewhere. It always made me feel so sad. But then one day towards the end of summer vacation, I would go up to school, and as soon as I walked in the front door, I would hear it! The sound of basketballs bouncing on the gym floor or off the rim or backboard! That was always sweet music to my ears!! Most usually, I detoured from wherever I had been headed, to the gym and just stood there and watched and listened once again. So, you can imagine that if I felt that way after 3 months, how I am feeling now after 11 months!
- Once in awhile, I needed to go to the weight room to find someone. I was never sure what I should do as I walked into that room full of men and young men. So, I usually fell back on my college days habit, and I would yell, “Woman on the floor!” The looks on the younger boys’ faces were priceless! It was clear that they had no idea what I was talking about or doing, and some looks seemed to suggest a certain amount of insanity on my part. LOL!
- I also remember several times that I sat with the players of one team while another team played. You gain a whole new perspective on a game when you watch it with a basketball player! I miss it!!
- During my years at Sunrise, I had opportunities to tutor several young men to help them with their classwork, and also to prepare for taking the ACT. Nothing gave me greater happiness than to hear the results of their test scores and know that this time they had passed! There are young men in college today and also playing at the professional level because I was able to help them with their studies. One young man had taken the ACT four times and was unable to get a high enough score to get admitted to a D-1 school. But we worked every day, and he did it! Others were struggling because English was/is their second language. It means a great deal to me to know that I helped them on their way to success. The gifts some have given me are just, as we say, “the maraschino cherry on top.” I watch them out on the court and my heart swells with pride at what they worked and overcame in order to be where they are now. That is really the real ‘cherry’ to me!