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Weekend Warriors

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A good semi-off topic for an off-season weekend.  If you're anything like me you grew up loving to play basketball as well as watching it.  It's amazing what happened when the Blazers won it all in '77.  All of us little Portland kids all of a sudden were out on the courts hoopin' it up and I don't think the trend ever stopped.  Everybody played everywhere they could.  I remember days in middle and high school when it was sleeting and freezing.  We'd watch out the window for the precipitation to abate, then if it cleared for even fifteen minutes we'd be out there trying to shoot around, if not play on the ice.  It was crazy, but it was fun.

Anyway, I figured that you all have got to have plenty of your own heroic basketball stories, right?  It's such a streaky, rhythm game that if you play long enough you're going to have one or two unforgettable, magic moments...days when, darn it, YOU might as well have been a Trailblazer because you were just...that...hot.  Here's your chance to share them with the world.  I'll break the ice with two of mine.  

The first came when a friend invited me to play in his church league on the Southeast side.  I showed up about the second or third week of the season.  Turns out they didn't have a point guard, so they more or less made me do it, which was weird because I was the tallest guy on the team.  But whatever...I did my best to take care of the ball and make sure everybody got to score a little.  But I noticed that my defender, seeing my ball-distributing ways, started to sag off a little.  So midway through the second quarter when I saw him drop a couple steps off of me, I pulled up about four feet past the halfcourt line.  Admittedly this was no NBA court, but that was still a fair bit beyond NBA three-point distance.  It wasn't so much of a conscious decision as a reaction...I just squared up and shot.  I heard the coach groan, "Oh no, what the..." but before he could get that last word in (who knows what it would have been but it WAS church league so we'll assume it was going to be clean) the ball went dead through the hoop.  He stopped mid-sentence and went, "Ohhhhhhhhh!" in the same tone as if he had discovered a fifty lying on the street or something.  The opposing point guard played tighter on me for the rest of the half but then early in the second half he forgot again.  Stop, pop, swoosh from the same range.  That was cool.

The best moment overall, though, came one non-descript evening when my best friend and I were playing at the little court at Meek school in north Portland.  We were just shooting around when these two guys showed up with their girlfriends.  They were all watching us and then the guys wanted a game.  So we said sure...to 15 by ones.  We even let them have it out first.  I ended up shooting 8 of 8 including a leaning, spinning, fall-away while saving the ball from going out of bounds.  My friend shot 7 of 8. (I asked him afterwards what was the matter with him, missing that shot.)  The other guys didn't score a point.  Though short, it was the best single playground outing I've ever had.  I'd love to say that we also left with the girls but alas, in those younger days we were more Kersey than Casanova.  We were sporting and offered the guys a rematch, but they had to go...

So go ahead, we're all ears, lay it on us. You have a nationwide audience.  What were your eternally-memorable superhero moments on the court?

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)