Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh, The Stories They'll Have

Both of my sons are playing on traveling basketball teams this winter, and even though their seasons are barely underway, I've visited a lot of gyms in western Massachusetts over the last couple of weeks.  This week my younger son is playing in a CYO tournament hosted by Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Springfield.  The gym is certainly one of the, shall we say, coziest gyms I've ever been in.  Spectators are restricted to folding chairs that line one wall of the gym, and anyone with a shoe size greater than about 5 will have to watch their toes.  Of course, people can always sit on the stage during the game.  The teams' benches are old church pews, and James Naismith would have been right at home.  But while the gym is small, the competition has been spirited. 

I never played much basketball when I was younger; it just wasn't my game.  And I certainly never played organized basketball.  I learned to appreciate the game more when in college, when I went to a basketball school, and I've grown to appreciate it even more now that my kids are playing.  When I walked into that gym last night, I felt for a moment that maybe I'd missed out on something by not playing basketball when I was their age.  But I think that regret may have been fueled in part by the mistaken belief that these places didn't exist anymore, that basketball had been cleaned up and homogenized and corporate-tized into something antiseptic and generic.  I was able to overcome my own regret with the thought of the stories my kids will tell their kids in 30 years about the crazy places they played basketball when they were kids. 

Yes, I guess I'm appreciating basketball stories as much as I'm appreciating basketball these days. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hall of Fame

My son had the opportunity to play basketball on the court at the Hall of Fame in Springfield on Sunday.  His Sister Elizabeth Ann Seton CYO team from Northampton beat a spirited Agawam squad.  It was funny watching the players on the bench who spent more time looking up at the big screens and the pictures of all of the inductees.  Just before that game, they played a game in East Longmeadow in a tiny gym with linoleum floors that doubles as a cafeteria.   You've got to be versatile to succeed in Division 1 grade 3 and 4 CYO basketball. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shout Out

I knew that the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club liked the last blog entry I did about their 2010 race series, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they'd posted it as an essay on their site.  Always nice to see what I write published in various places (yes, they did have permission.)