To the editor:
The school year of 1956-57, 14 classmates and I went out for the seventh grade basketball team to fulfill our dream of becoming the next Greenwood superstar.
The only time I remember getting into a game was the end of our eighth grade year. The reason I remember this is because it was the only time in two years I got into a game.
We were trailing by 20 points or more with less than a minute to go. The coach instructed us where to stand in our 3-2 zone, with our arms up. Zones were all the rage at that time. I was designated to play the wing position in the front line, a step beyond the foul line extended. I wasn't there. I wanted the ball.
Instead I was situated in a passing lane. A passing lane? Nobody, including our coach whose name escapes me, knew what a passing lane was.
I knew the scrawny kid bringing the ball up court was going to throw the ball to the teammate whose passing lane I occupied. I knew this because I could see the look of terror on his face.
Meanwhile my coach and my starting teammates, who were perched comfortably on the bench, were yelling, "Beaver, get back!" Get back? What the heck are we doing, protecting a 20-point loss? You mean, this kid is going to go backdoor on me? I didn't know what that was either.
Throw it he did indeed. I didn't even have to move. I began my journey down court, the longest 60 or more feet I ever ran while dribbling a basketball, knowing full well I was going to score. I never missed a right-handed layup in my life, in practice, that is. Thank God I wasn't on the left side of the floor.
Immediately after I scored, the buzzer sounded, and five classmates who never faced live fire scurried onto the floor. I wonder what the coach told them?
I didn't care. I had my moment of glory, my moment in the sun. I held my head high knowing I had scored a bucket for dear old Greenwood Junior High. My future was secure.
Our freshmen year I suffered the same fate as Michael Jordan.
I made the JV team as a sophomore, and our junior year the varsity, playing as the sixth man. I thought I was Frank Ramsey of the Celtics.
During the season 1961-62, I was the only senior who started, inspired by my coast-to-coast layup that deep winter afternoon in February of 1958.
We went 8-12 that year, our senior season, hanging back in our fabled 3-2 zone, with our arms up, of course. I still played the wing position, a step beyond the foul line extended.
I never became a superstar.
Wayne C. Beaver