A Day Of Sports Acclaim……..#210 (the 90’s)

Robert – ready to score

It remained the same thru the years,  even as a youth it maintained recognition,  it’s aura an annotation of character,  an arena to project a caliber of participation and accomplishment,  functioning as a host for contestants,  a platform for exemplar of integrity and skill.   A 94. x 50 ft. designated placard portrayed on the mezzanine  with a 18 inch diameter metal copula that besieged a lattice posted 10 feet in height on a raised  6  x 3.5 ft.  lath addressing either end.   The aficionado accomplished in consecution on elevated staging enabling one to view the concourse and the event that was about to unfold,  to observe the designates,  a five member contingency to place a 9.3 inch diameter sphere thru the opposing teams guarded hoop.  The game of basketball was about to begin.

Gary mounting a mid-court  third row seat in the gymnasium bleachers at the Anthony K-8  School,  a familiar setting,  having attended the Hornets basketball games in the past,  his son Robert a member of the team.   Gary was never critical of his son’s basketball prowess,  having established a pole mounted backboard and hoop beside the driveway at their home,  shooting baskets with the youngster,  encouraging him to practice.   Gary having spent his youthful days in high school as  sports editor on the school paper, attending and writing about almost every school sporting event for a year and half and was well acquainted with the ascribed outstanding school athletes and was very much aware that some team members lacked the natural athletic ability of the others.   It wasn’t Roberts  lack of physical attributes,  his stature was equitable to those his age, but the absence of a focused desire for competitive athletics, something which is paramount in those who excel in aggressive sports activities.

Sandra – Anthony Hornet Cheerleader

Today’s game was one of special interest,  Anthony was playing Kiowa,  Gary familiar with all the Kiowa Tornado’s  members,  as most were classmates of Roberts when attending school in Kiowa.   Robert’s game time was negligible,  as in most school sporting events,  the starters playing most of the game time,  the less proficient members of the team activated for an obligatory period.   The game was in progress when Jan joined Gary,  a hospital responsibility delaying her,  the two teams keeping pace with each other with Brad Rathgeber and Mark Zimmerman making outstanding baskets for Kiowa.  Roberts playing time against his previous alumni was very minimal, the game progressing each team trading baskets,  the scoring was equitable,  the clock winding down to less than a minute,  Kiowa seizing a one point lead,  the Anthony Coach calling a timeout.   With the team returning to the floor  to Gary’s and the assembled arrays amazement,  Robert,  a non-starter taking to the court and more astonishing,  the ball was inbounded to him.   Robert slowly dribbling the ball up the court,  a grin on his face,  the Kiowa team,  his old classmates  waiting for him to cross the mid court line before ambushing his forward progress.   Stepping up his dribble,  zeroing in towards the Kiowa goal,  the clock down to less than ten seconds and about to expire,  Robert launching the ball,  its path off its mark,  missing the hoop,  a disappointment,  but at the same time the sound of the referee’s whistle echoing in the Gym.  The referee pointing to Kiowa,  during the attempt to block the shot Robert was fouled,  two attempts at free throws to ensue.

The Anthony team

A hushed silence fell over the gym,  the crowd silenced with the turn of events,  the Anthony Hornets Coach  standing smugly with his arms folded.   Jim Jacobs,  the Kiowa Coach was pacing,  the remainder of the Kiowa bench sitting in silence,  the Anthony team,  enlivening confidence to Robert that he could make the baskets.   The referee handing Robert the ball,  both teams lining up on the key in anticipation for the first free throw attempt.   Standing at the free-throw line,  the young man dribbled the ball in place several times,  raised the ball,  sending it soaring towards the hoop,  rebounding off the backboard,  a banked shot addressing the hoop,  the basket tying the score,  with another free throw remaining.  The ball once again in Robert’s hands,  this time a concentrated effort could be fathomed from the expression on his face.   Gary wondering if his son remembered a past demonstration of concentration with a basketball,  it was in the Kiowa gym,  an after school exhibition for Robert,  the father validating  a consolidation of effort,  a backwards,  over-your-head,  half court basket,  not once but twice in a row.  All eyes were on Robert,  bouncing the ball just one time,  his hands grasping it,  giving the push shot its rotation,  sending the possible game winning sphere arching towards the hoop.

Gary questioned the coaches decision to insert Robert into the game,  down by one point and with less than a minute remaining,  was the coach proclaiming a confidence in the boy’s  ability or just maybe a psychological reason,  knowing the relationship between Robert and the opposing team,  conjecturing that the youth would be emboldened to rise to the occasion, only the coach knew.  The Kiowa team was stunned,  the crowd exuberant,  Gary experiencing a spine-tingling perception of pride, as he watched the ball swishing thru the net, a contest winner for  the Hornets and Roberts day of sports acclaim.

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