From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
I figure if I continue talking about the Dinosaur exhibit and the Ice Age Theme for this year, the weather is not going to get any better. With all the talks about Global Warming since the millennium, I have eagerly anticipated a longer golf season instead of skiing. Possibly, Al Gore needs to turn away from the warming of the earth and pursue other projects like String Theory with the help of Dr. Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory, of course. Bazinga!
As we wind down on yet another basketball season, I want to congratulate all the teams in the county on a great season. The Big-10 conference has produced some outstanding players on both the boys and girls levels. And the sectional and regional tournaments will be quite a true test in order to qualify for the state tournament in Charleston in March.
In the latest girls’ double-A pole, Lincoln and Bridgeport crack into the top-10 tied at #9 while the boys have four County teams represent AA schools in the County. And single-A Notre Dame is ranked at #8 in the state. Needless to say, the County is loaded this year.
And credit goes to the coaches for the fine jobs they have done this season. Coaching is definitely a game of chess. A balanced scoring attack and team chemistry has led to the success of teams like Bridgeport, who lingers around the top of the Metro Power Rankings.
As I take a step back to my youth, many articles have been written about the level of talent in the county, especially in 1985-86 hoops season. The talent pool was so deep that there was a tie for three athletes for county player of the year. Three schools made it to the “big dance” and it was definitely a great time to see local basketball, just like this year.
And it all stemmed from summer parks basketball. Whether it was in a gym, which would happen on the rarest of occasions, or on the asphalt at our neighborhood park, we always played basketball.
I remember how my summer Sundays would be consumed with basketball in the afternoon at North View Park. It was never about fashion like you see today. We never wore compression sleeves or combat shorts and the shoes we wore were the ones we had from our previous season. We just wanted to compete with our friends.
Connect-Bridgeport’s Jeff Toquinto, whom I have been friends with since the debut of Mellow Yellow, would rock the Liberty practice short-shorts and a vintage Philadelphia 76’ers top. He wore the shirt so much it developed its own ventilation patches in the armpits. He was a pioneer with tech gear and didn’t even know it. The shirt might be on display at the Smithsonian, but don’t quote me on it.
I know, painting an ugly picture here. And to our senior readers, no we did not wear satin or shorts with a belt.
Every park was loaded with play on the weekends during the summer months – Stealey, Jackson, Compton and Monticello to name a few. And the rules were different for each court.
At some parks, you played till you lost while others had won two in a row and have to sit. Make it-Take it or change after each basket. Full-court or half-court, it did not matter as long as you had a team that could “hang” (kids, ask your parents about the slang).
Today, I am sure if you talked to a Justin Noble, Chase Robey, Johnny Spatafore, Jarrod West, Gracie Lamm or Corin Todd where they developed their talent I am sure it involved a park.
I hope that every parent who reads this weekly news feed will use their own park stories as a way to motivate their kids. We all have a story that involves recreation basketball, so pass it on to your child and when the weather “warms” again, maybe they will develop stories to tell the next generation.
Good luck to all the kids in the post-season.