Saturday, December 30, 2006

High School Basketball

Photos courtesy of Brian Wallace, used with permission

High school basketball is rather like Christmas; it gets me through a dark and dreary part of the year. Walking into the brightly lit gym, with the pep band playing, is like entering another world. Youth rules. Kids rock. Looming old mountains and foul weather stay outside and I spend a few hours with the vibrant energy of hard working teenagers. Songs like "Smoke on the Water" and "Surfing USA" blare out from the balcony and ring in my head for days.

Mostly I come for the basketball. I really love the game. Originally I went along with some friends of mine who had a freshman son playing on the varsity team. One year our exchange student, Leonardo, was a member of the stunt team and I had a quasi-parental reason to go. But I don't really need a reason beyond a simple enjoyment of the show.

Our high school teams have done well over the years, winning both boys and girls state championships several times. One boy from Juneau made it to the NBA and is racking up double doubles this season for the Utah Jazz. This year two of the seniors, one girl and one boy, have already committed to playing Division I college ball. It is gratifying to see such fine results of the all out effort and commitment these kids make to the game.

Each year some of them graduate and move on. Former players appear in the stands every season, home from college for Christmas break or home from the war. Wedding pictures are printed in the newspaper. I hear from parents about jobs and babies and medical school and all the things that people do after high school. Their years on the basketball team or the dance team, playing in the pep band or cheerleading do not define these students now or in the future but they are shaped by putting their young hearts and minds to this work. They mostly look like kids having fun and the faces of their parents and fans look proud.

1 comment:

The Fatalist said...

A cracking post, appreciated by another sportsfan; albeit one who's not into basketball. I love football (the proper one, I think you lot call it 'soccer', not that gridiron choreographed like chess game that takes half the night!) ice hockey (English and European, no interest in American as I don't have cable type telly) & rugby league.
Enjoy your sport!
(& in case you're wondering found your blog via the random next blog button!)