|That's Me Third From the Right -North Rose 1952|
I have fond memories of high school basketball even if I wasn't much of a contributor. A little JV time and then a little bit in the senior year when we made it to the sectionals. In my freshman year I tried to be a walk on at Syracuse University. What a shock. The scholarship players were in mid season condition and walked all over the walk-ons. After a few practices I was beat up enough and wise enough to recognize I had little chance of even being the fifteenth man. At Cornell after my transfer, I had lots of fun playing intramural league hoops. Our team was competitive in the league, although we didn't make it to the championships.
In my adult years at Cornell as a member of the faculty I had enjoyed many noon hours of pickup basketball at both Teagle and Barton Halls. There were some great guys and sometime gals playing the game for the pure joy of participating. It was quite competitive since the teams playing were challenged by sideline teams. Thus to keep up your exercise you always wanted to win. Fouls were self-called and sportsmanship demanded that you did not get Mickey-Mouse about the calls. It is amazing that some the guys I played with are now deceased. One day, when the teams were being picked, I was one of the potential players when I heard the following statement. "Lets, take that old guy over there". I looked around and lo and behold they were talking about me. At the time I was in my late 40's and suddenly realized that the 20 somethings saw me as an old guy. I didn't let it stop me from enjoying game and many of us "old guys" had enough team savvy to often win against the hot shot one on one team. I played until I was 60 but the loss of a kidney that year ended my playing days. Although I recovered from my illness my doctor recommended I give up the sport because of the potential physical contact.
Recently a young graduate student Scott Cloutier of my academic department contacted me about the basketball culture at Cornell. He is an avid amateur player interested in finding regular games. I was pleased to lead him to the Barton Hall pick up games that are going on 15 years after I left those courts. The good news is that he has found a place to play regularly Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00-1:30PM. Have fun Scott and may you keep playing into geezerhood. I know that some of my contemporaries are still playing the three on three version at the Senior Games. More power to the geezers.