I spent over 25 hours in the crowded Glacier High School gymnasium this past weekend watching and writing about the Northwest A divisional basketball tournament. Two feelings come to mind: high school basketball nostalgia and a sharp stinging pain in my lower back from maintaining a poorly postured sitting position for hours on end.
It’s impossible for me to watch high school basketball without getting caught up in nostalgia. From fourth grade up until an epiphany my senior year in high school, I believed I would play basketball forever. At the time of my epiphany, prompted by my favorite English professors and a writing mentor of mine, I had already talked to college scouts and put together highlight tapes to send to more scouts. In the end, I’m happy with my decision to not play college basketball, but the Northwest A tourney brought back a strange desire.
My colleague Julius Macker, who also covered the tournament for the Beacon, got a little nostalgic as well. On several occasions I had to verbally restrain him from his urge to “just take one shot” in between games. I thought it might be grounds for forced dismissal. So we just sat. And though I’m an advocate of sitting, and frequently engage in the activity, I think the long hours on uncomfortable bleachers have permanently distorted the alignment of my spine.
After watching Whitefish’s Colt Idol soar to the hoop, I noted that, somewhat disturbingly, I couldn’t remember the last time I had jumped for any reason. I recall hopping in recent months, perhaps skipping, but not jumping to the full capacity of my increasingly feeble legs. When I got home I jumped several times, just for old time’s sake, a bizarre thing to do alone in one’s house.
As for the tournament itself, it was all I could have asked for. Any tournament that pits rivals Columbia Falls and Whitefish against each other in the final game for a chance to go to state is all right with me. Out of the nine boys games, only one didn’t come down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
But despite my nostalgia and my genuine enjoyment of the tourney, I reflect on my decision to not play college basketball with a smile. I thank my English teachers and writing mentor for pointing me in the direction that was best for me. I went to college to be strictly a student, not an athlete, and it ultimately worked out for me. But, just for old time’s sake, I might go home and jump a few times.
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