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A funny thing happened to mePosted Friday, February 1, 2008, at 6:42 PM
A funny thing happened to me on the way out of the Toby Yoho Gymnasium last Saturday night.
After watching Bedford North Lawrence defeat the host Eastern Greene Thunderbirds and after speaking with EGHS boys basketball coach Andy Igel, I was headed out the door with my heavy black bag (filled with books, camera equipment and an apple that I am putting off eating until I get motivated to chomp on something healthy) over one shoulder and my clipboard in the other hand.
But I had an empty hand that was soon filled by Eastern Greene girls track and field coach Mike Caldwell. He has been promising to give me a deflated ABA basketball, featuring faded and almost unrecognizable Red, White and Blue colors, and John Feinstein's book "The Punch," the story about Kermit Washington and Rudy Tomjanovich.
After cleaning out his closets or drawers sometime last year, Caldwell, like myself a long suffering Indiana Pacers fan, discovered this basketball that he got when he attended the Billy Keller Basketball Camp. Yes I am old enough to remember Keller in his prime at Indianapolis Washington High School, Purdue University and with the Pacers. Ironically he still hosts those shooting camps.
Caldwell earlier had asked me if I wanted the ball, which reminds me of my childhood in central Indiana when you had to have one or your weren't cool enough to step onto a basketball court.
As I left the gym, I noticed people kind of staring at the basketball and probably wondering what it was and what I was doing with it.
Caldwell had actually ran home after the game to get it and it was still cold. It had probably been stashed near the garbage cans in his garage. It would have easily fetched a nickel at a yard sale.
I was a bit embarrassed, I admit, but smiling with the thought of another treasure to add to my study. Like any sports paraphernalia junkie would, I would have to endure the stares of disdain or glares from those would didn't understand its beauty.
It was not worthy of being part of an episode of Antiques Roadshow on PBS, like where a guy had a sword from the Civil War that he used to cut watermelons and it turned out to be worth $100,000, but it was still pretty valuable in my eyes.
My wife describes my study as a room that any 14-year old kid would be proud of. It is littered with posters and memorabilia of the Colts and Pacers primarily, but one of my most treasured possessions is a Larry Bird 7-Up promotional poster than my dad gave to me. It is torn and tattered, but I would just as soon have my arm torn off as give it up.
Also I have a Doctor J poster that was part of a promotion by Converse to get back into the shoe market several years ago. The former high-flyer is pictured in black and white, with a colored Converse logo, with his large afro flying through the air.
I believe, though never confirmed, that the picture of Julius Erving was reproduced from the TV footage of the first slam dunk contest at the 1975 ABA All-Star game in Denver. It was the one that featured Artis Gilmore and "Skywalker" David Thompson.
Dr. J. won that trend-setting contest by dunking from the foul line, years before Michael Jordan duplicated the feat.
Erving with the Virginia Squires then and later in the ABA with the New Jersey Nets. Later he won an NBA title with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Believe it or not, former Shakamak and now Turkey Run coach Joey Hart gave me that poster. I am sure he doesn't even remember that summer he was giving them away as prizes at his camp. I recall being embarrassed to ask for one, but happy that I did.
I am not sure how I am going to resurrect the old basketball or how exactly I can display it. But as you can see, I already have a home for it.
In today's edition of the Greene County Daily World is a 16-page section previewing the upcoming girls basketball sectional. I would like to thank Travis David and editor Chris Pruett for their efforts with this section.
Good luck to all the area teams. We could have two sectional champs before it is all said and done.
The girls basketball teams at Bloomfield and White River Valley have put together stellar seasons and in a normal year would have to go through each other to win a sectional championship.
But because of Bloomfield moving up to Class 2A, the two won't be playing anytime in the next four years in the post season, not only in girls hoops but boys basketball.
It seems weird to think those two Greene County rivals won't have to battle each other in post season. But this could be the first time in well over a decade since BHS and EGHS played each other at the sectional.
Only time and the draw for the boys tournament, which is a week from Sunday, will tell.
Those two girls teams have been ranked with the best in the state -- WRV is No. 9 in Class A while Bloomfield is No. 15 in Class 2A.
After being hit hard by graduation, BHS has been impressive in winning 16 of 19 games during the regular season. Kudos to Lady Cardinal coach Kyle von Almen, who has his team grinding out victory after victory, including a win over Class 3A No 7 Owen Valley earlier this week. OV has lost just twice in 20 games.
WRV won the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference championship with a 7-0 mark.
The Lady Wolverines are 15-4 overall and would have to be the favorite to win the Clay City Sectional. Coach Joe Pigg is hoping the third time is the charm for the Lady Wolverines, who have been eliminated by the host Lady Eels the past two years.
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(0 ~ 5:59 PM, Apr 24)
Where the Pacers go from here?
What will new sectional alignments look like?
What a journey it was
Looking forward to returning home and seeing Historic Southport Fieldhouse