One single, solitary point.
That’s how much I helped the Union County High School girls basketball team in 1981.
No, not one point per game, but one point in an entire season!
Until I pulled this picture out recently to share with my friend Don Yaeger after reading his post about Beth Brooke (who had a MUCH better basketball career than I did), I would have sworn I played basketball my senior year. I now remember that it was my junior year. By senior year, I was a cheerleader, so I guess I cheered for girls’ games (if anyone did).
Let’s just compare and contrast Kat’s basketball career with mine:
Kat: “I made every basketball team I ever tried out for because I was tall.”
Paula: “I made the only basketball team I ever tried out for because my school was just that small.”
Why did I play basketball?
There can’t have been a tryout process — this must have been an all-comers situation. I already pointed out the school was small (I had 82 students in my graduating class). I played basketball for the same reason I ran cross country and played tennis that year (then became a cheerleader the following year): I was obsessed with my weight. Excessive exercise was part of that equation. Sports burned calories, therefore I played sports
What did I learn from basketball?
I had no idea, before playing basketball (and, truthfully, while playing basketball) about the role of patterns and models in offenses and defenses. I’ve always been a words person. Putting “x’s” and “o’s” into strings of verbiage came much easier to me than the spatial thinking required to organize human beings into different variations in order to get a ball from one end of the court to another.
I think often about that one point I scored by making a free throw. Somehow, having a point in the books makes the season a bit less of a waste in my mind than a zero-point season would have. But I did participate in every practice (even if I didn’t really know my x’s from my o’s). Maybe my presence helped those players who had a clue — I’m sure I didn’t get them much to defend against, but maybe I helped them figure out offensive strategies when there were oblivious defensive players on the court.
I felt like a little bit less of a fraud when I was named the school’s scholar-athlete my senior year (obviously, the performance in the “scholar” column was a bit more stellar than my performance in the “athlete” column).
And would you LOOK at those knee socks? How much more dull would high school have been if I hadn’t gotten to wear those?!
I am linking up with Kat Bouska’s blog for the prompt “Did you play sports as a kid? Write about a memorable game.”