Friday, April 25, 2008

Playing Basketball

Playing Basketball.

The other day I watched the movie Hoosiers. The Internet Movie Database says this about Hoosiers. “A movie based on the true story of a small-town Indiana team that made the state finals in 1954, this movie chronicles the attempts of a coach with a spotty past, and the town's basketball-loving drunk to lead their high school team to victory.”

I was in high school in the late 60’s, not the mid 50’s. However, I attended a small school. If memory serves me correctly there were 120 to 130 students in the entire school, kindergarten through Grade twelve. So anyone who showed up for practice and could pass the physical was on the team.

If you read my profile you will see that I’ve had both hips operated on when I was twelve years old. As a result, I walked with a Trendelenburg gait , I could not run fast, and wasn’t particularly coordinated. In early 1963 the doctors at the University of Iowa told me that I, in all likely hood would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 40. I remember asking the doctors how much I could do. Would I be able to play sports? The doctors looked at each other and one answered me saying I should not play sports, that I should not run, and absolutely no jumping. The other doctor asked the first to step out of the room for a minute. When they returned the second doctor said that in light of my health issues, he agreed with the first doctor, however he said they had discussed my situation and had decided to tell me to go and do whatever I wanted to do. They didn’t feel anything I did would change the prognosis that I would be wheelchair bound by age 40.

Two months later, we moved from central Iowa to a small town in western Kansas. That fall I entered High School and went out for the football team. I was a small tiny freshman. After the first week of being run over by the much larger upper classmen, I decided football wasn’t for me.

When the time came for basketball I showed up on the first day of practice. Now because of the size of the school I was on the team. Even if I didn’t play in any of the games I didn't care, they still needed enough boys for practice skirmishes. For two years I was on the basketball team. I rode to the games in the team bus; I suited up for every game sitting at the far end of the bench. Sometime, I would actually get to play for a couple of minutes. These would be the games where we were so far ahead with so little time left on the clock, that there was no chance of us losing. On those occasions I would be on the floor and the gym would suddenly grow to an immense size. I can still see myself standing on the court, a small tiny freshman player who was wishing with all his heart that he were someplace else.

You ask if I made it to 40 without being in a wheelchair. The answer is yes and no. If I went to a museum or a zoo, I would use a wheelchair because of all the walking, but I wasn’t confined to the wheelchair full time until I was in my early 50’s.

I learned a lot during those high school years. I learned to set goals and work to achieve them. I learned not to let obstacles keep you from reaching your goals. I learned to find ways, sometimes different than other people, around those obstacles. I could go on and on but I think you get my point.

As I read over this post, I think I am beginning to wander a bit. But I wanted to write this so my children would know that I did more that ride buffalo through snowdrifts to school. For some reason watching the movie Hoosiers made me think of those high school days.


Blogger Me said...

You rode buffalo to school? I didn't know that, I will have to ask dad about that.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 7:47:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Boots said...

He seems to be slipping in his old age--it used to be dinosaurs.

Monday, April 28, 2008 at 8:25:00 AM PDT  
Blogger dot said...

Interesting post and funny comments!

Monday, April 28, 2008 at 6:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger moitz said...

I know, you also shot the Indians on your way to basketball practice.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 5:49:00 PM PDT  

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