Friday, March 29, 2013

Hoop on the end of the barn

The basketball hoop hung on the side of the barn. I vaguely remember Dad hanging it there. In fact, I think it might have actually had a net when it was new, but in all the time I remember, it was just a hoop. Where there were farm kids, there was basketball.

We stood in the gym. It was probably 1963. We had six girls per team with three forwards on their home half court and their three guards on the opposing home court. I guess that somewhere along the way someone decided that girls did not have the stamina to run full court. Silly person. Of course, we had a front row seat when the opposite end was tossing the ball around. It gave us a chance to catch up on the latest gossip. I wore Keds, shorts and one of Dad's old, white, button-down shirts. The uniform of a 60's girl.

I was always a guard. Not sure if I was always a guard because I couldn't hit the hoop, or perhaps I was an excellent guard. Hm. I think it was the lack of talent with the ball. I was so busy trying to remember the rules. As a guard could I toss the ball across the line of demarcation or did I need to pass it off? What if I was the only free player when one of our forwards on the other end of the court needed to pass off to our side? Could I catch it or should I just stand there waiting for a forward to come along? If I was a forward, could I block a shot? Oh, my, it was chaos in the mind of a girl who had no sports sense. I found myself trying to get lost in a crowd of players. Sometimes I stood off on my own waving my arms as if someone was in front of me. I thought if I looked busy, no one would throw the ball in my direction.  Dribbling was even a chore for me. If I remember rightly, the ball could only be dribbled twice then needed to be passed off. Twice was at least two time too much for me. Basketball was not my game.

In 1970 the girl's rules changed. Half court changed to full court. Six players lowered down to five players. Girls must haved proved themselves worthy to play by the rules set forward for the boys. Today I have two nieces who coach junior high girls' basket ball. Both women were star players on their high school teams.

The basketball hoop hung on the end of the barn. Farm hands always threw a few balls when Dad gave them a break from hoeing tobacco or baling hay or straw. My sister June (grandma of the two now coaches) tossed balls through that hoop. She even tried to help her little sister. Dribbling a ball on gravel was not easy. I guarantee that most farms today have a basketball hoop. The sound of the ball hitting the side of the barn still hangs in the air. Still hangs in the memory of a girl from Franklin Monroe.

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