As regular readers of the blog may have figured out, I like basketball.
I grew up with a hoop and a wooden backboard on an old telephone pole in the backyard of our house out in the country in Clinton, S.C., put up by my dad so his sons could fling one of those old American Basketball Association red, white and blue basketballs around.
I played hard but poorly in church league and on what was probably one of the worst intramural teams in Clemson University history. (One of our best outings was a 69-13 loss to a fraternity team which included a future tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. We dug down deep that day and did ourselves proud.)
I don’t play anymore, even though there is probably a geezer league for guys my age in Charlotte. I’ve always thought that when former LSU and NBA star Pete Maravich died of a heart attack at age 40 in 1988 after playing in a pickup game, that was the beginning of the end of my playing days.
Jayne was determined not to become a young widow herself — if it could happen to a superbly-conditioned elite athlete like “Pistol Pete” what kind of risk was it for an out-of-shape weekend warrior with no nickname? Besides, full-court games were beginning to be too fast for me anyway.
So I content myself these days to be a spectator and to write about others playing. That’s what I’ll do this week in the blog. If you’re not particularly a fan of basketball, I’d like for you to continue reading anyway. When you write about sports, you’re writing about people, and I’m going to start the week with a couple of good “people” stories about an outstanding young man and woman moving from one stage of a basketball life to another.
Later on I’ll blog from a couple of basketball tournaments in the region. I’ve always felt that the Internet — especially blogs — is a good place to find what people’s obsessions are. And you’ll get to see mine. From early Thursday afternoon to late Sunday afternoon I’ll watch at least 10 games — and I’m going for six on Friday alone at the Southern Conference tournament in Charlotte.
Wish me luck.