Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Shoot Like A Girl

Guess I'm going with old basketball war stories this week.

Let's start by saying I loved playing that game. As a kid I practiced shooting every day. Even in the winter I would shovel off the court and go out and shoot.

I have three boys who do that sort of thing now.

Yet I should have also worked on dribbling...especially with my left hand...

...ah well...next life.

Yet I played enough and was on teams through high school, in rec leagues in college and logged quite a bit of court time after college.

I could shoot.

I stunk at everything else.

Yet the death of Pat Summitt made me think of women's basketball and my brush with that world.

I was living in Baltimore and I had the sort of summer that movies are made about. I hung with great friends (and family) and went to O's games. We'd cook out by the pool and play tennis and hoops.

Well...the lifeguard at the pool at the complex was a beautiful girl and we became fast friends. She'd beat me in tennis, but as slow as I've been all my life, that wasn't a big deal.

"You should play Rosemary in a one-on-one in hoops," someone said one day.

"I'd kill her," I answered. "I'm 6'...she's 5'4". How would she score?"

I have a big mouth

Rose finally heard enough.

"Let's play," she said. "But no one gets to watch. We'll report back to you."

So, off we went.

Basket out, game to 21.

I took an early lead with a couple of long shots, but then I missed.

Rose had the ball for the next half hour.

If I tried to defend her she went flying by. If I played off her she'd bury the shot.

I had a late flurry to make it look good, but she won:

21-15.

"I lost to a girl," I kept saying.

On the way back to poolside Rose came up with a plan:

"Let's say you won."

"Why?" I asked.

"'Cause it embarrasses me."

"You're embarrassed???" I asked.

A couple of weeks later I was seated in the job trailer at the construction site and when I turned the page on the college basketball preview I saw a familiar face:

Rose.

She was second in the nation in scoring at West Virginia.

I immediately called her.

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked.

"'Cause you would've chickened out," she said.

Pat Summitt was a great coach.

Women can play hoops!

I'm a believer!

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