When I was kid I loved basketball, almost as much as baseball and I played a lot. I was gangly and awkward but I could shoot ok. My school (St. Ann’s, Keansburg) had an intramural basketball “league”. League is pushing it a bit, there might have been four teams, that I’m pretty sure consisted of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The games took place in the gym and it was mainly a lot of running around and missed shots. One saturday our team (who’s name I have forgotten) played another team that had a guy who’s mother had just died. His name was John and he was a big quiet kid. I think the prevailing thought was, maybe basketball will take his mind off his mom. We started playing and I wanted to win. I was a kid, this was years before I started getting fucked up and sports were still pure. In my head I was on the Knicks (Dave DeBusschere), the game meant something to me. So I saw an opportunity and stole the ball from John and headed all by myself to the basket. An easy two points, and a heads up play by me. The next thing I know I’m lying two rows in on the sidelines in a pile of metal folding chairs. I had no idea what happened. The ref who helped me up told me that right after I stole the ball, John ran up behind me and punched me in the back of the head and sent me into the chairs. I asked him if I was going to get a foul shot and he told me that no, there wasn’t any foul and I shouldn’t have stolen the ball from John as his mother had just died.
No pictures exist of me playing basketball but here’s one from around the same time in my soccer garb