We are well into this year’s college basketball season and Sue and I are thoroughly enjoying our season tickets to the University of Memphis Tigers’ games. Tonight as I sat in our FedEx Forum third-tier seats (we love it but we are not fanatical enough to spend a fortune on seats) I pondered how much I enjoy watching the games these days. Now I know the rules, know the players, know the opposition and their key players, and know I can see fouls better from my high-up seats than the seeing-impaired referees five feet from the action. I can see when a player travels, double-dribbles, is wide open for a dunk, and I know what a fade-away-jumper is. I know the schedules and how many games need to be won to get to the championship.
I think back to my school days at Lee and remember I went to as many basketball games as I could, both home and away games. I did not know any of the rules then, except a basket was worth two points and a free throw one. Since I was short and the three-point shot was well into the future I never considered being a player myself. Basketball was for tall people and that certainly was not me. I had no idea what a point-guard was and how they did not have to be as tall as the other players to participate in the sport. But still I went to the games as an observer. I did not go to see Greg Dixon or J.R. Brooks show off their athletic skills (or pale white legs in their shorts) but for other reasons.
I went to support my school and my team. I went to see the cheerleaders spin around and show off their much prettier legs. I went to see the cheerleaders of the opposing school’s team – for the same reason. I went to cheer “Fee, Fee-Fie, Fee-Fie-Foe....” I went to yell “Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar” and to stand up and holler when the time came. I went to have something to do with my male friends earlier in my high school days, and to have a date with my steady in my later years. I went to sit in the hard bleachers and hold hands with her and sit with our bodies touching and to stomp on the wooden bleachers when the opponent’s star was trying a free throw. I went to cheer our team and boo the other team.
And when the game was over, I usually knew which team had won the game, but was not sure what tactics were used to do so or which player made the key play to insure victory or to snap a loss from the hands of victory. The games were always a starting place to make plans to cruise the Parkway between Shoney’s Big Boy and Jerry’s or to get fired up for a sock hop in the smelly gym on rare occasions after the games.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.
I miss those days. I miss sitting in the seats with my classmates and having a great time regardless of what was happening on the court. I miss those who were such good friends and who are now gone and cannot read these words about how much I enjoyed being with them. I miss the school spirit, more for the love of the school than the love of the game. I miss the “Who cares?” feeling following a loss when today I can still be mad for several days following a loss and can still remember a terrible game played three years ago and who made the stupid mistake that cost us the win.
So, today, over 50 years later I want to thank the players and the coaches and the cheerleaders for giving me such lasting good memories of a time in my life when sports were fun and it truly did not matter to me who won or loss or even how they played the game. All that mattered to me was being with my friends and having a good time.
The Virtual Jukebox
This Week's Selections By
Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter
This was a tough assignment for me. I have always loved music and associate many songs with events; so narrowing it down to 3 was almost impossible.
These are the ones I decided to play:
My #1 is My Girl by The Temptations
"My Girl" is a 1964 standard recorded by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label which became a number one hit in 1965. Written and produced by The Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, the song became the Temptations' first U.S. number-one single, and is today their signature song.
#2 is I'm Happy Just to Dance With You by The Beatles
"I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles for the film soundtrack to A Hard Day's Night. Lead vocals are by George Harrison, whose performance in the film marked the first commercial music video segment with Harrison singing lead.
#3 is Wipe Out (The Surfaris). Wipe Out played constantly the summer of '63 or '64 when I was a lifeguard at the Big Spring Pool. It was a drummer's dream song.
"Wipe Out" is an instrumental written by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson. It was first performed and recorded by the Surfaris, who were elevated to international status with the release of the "Surfer Joe" and "Wipe Out" single in 1963. The song – both the Surfaris' version as well as cover versions – has been featured in over 20 films and television series since 1964, appearing at least once a decade. The term "wipe out" refers to a fall from a surfboard, especially one that looks painful.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Charlie Card
I have a Charlie Card. When we were in Boston a couple of years ago and trying to figure out how to get aboard the MBTA some nice person game me a card. Now when we visit all I have to do is put some money on the card. The problem I have with riding this system is that as long as I am on it that song repeats in my head.
We were in Clear Springs, Texas last week and saw this old juke box on the wall. Don't think it works, but thought of you when I saw it.
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