Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Got Game?

One of my favorite things this time of year?

Girls’ basketball.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was never a player (I was a cheerleader, though) because we didn’t have a girls’ team when I was the right age. And I don’t go to a lot of games, but I enjoy the ones I get to a bunch.

Hearing Mama talk about BB like I did when I was a kid was enough to make anyone a convert. She loved watching girls play. Even after she was an adult, she would go to all the games she could.

I never wondered why we attended Old ‘Ford’s games, even after we moved to C-Town. I just liked seeing my dad’s younger cousins play. Seeing those kids in their shiny/short uniforms and wearing big white knee pads was so much fun!

The gym in Old ‘Ford was more fun than you can imagine. I’ve never seen another one like it. There was one row of seats on the players’ level, and the rest were upstairs in the balcony area, where there were two rows of benches.

It was so exciting to get to go up there. According to legend (before my time) there was only a 2×4 rail, waist-high, all the way around the outside of the balcony. Nothing underneath to stop people from falling off.

Dad said that at that time, MOST people knew not to get so close to the edge, they fell off. He emphasized MOST because when his sister, Aunt Phyllis, was a kid, she sat on that railing, was playing around and fell off, onto the gym floor below. The fall broke her arm.

I didn’t know her at that time, since she’s my dad’s older sister, but from what I hear, Dushie (my name for her when I was a baby) was a very entertaining wild child and a ton of fun to be with.

My siblings all played basketball in high school, and most of them were pretty darn good.

This is my niece

Now we’re into the next generation. Dad’s youngest granddaughters are on the court these days. I got to see my first game of the season last night. I went by myself and thought I’d be sitting alone. Omega, score keeper for the middle school, saw me walk in and called my cell phone. “Come over here!” I looked up, and the refs were standing by her at the score keepers’ table, pointing at me (there she is!) and laughing at the look on my face.

Being the sweet sister I am, I traipsed around the gym. Ever feel like everyone in the place is watching to see if you’ll trip? 🙂

As I walked by the opposing team’s assistant coach, he said, “You look like a woman on a mission.”

“I’ve been summoned by my sister. What can I do but obey?” 😉

I got to sit right there, close enough to our team to hear what the coach yells at them. (I didn’t understand it, but I could hear it.) “High, low! High, low!” and “D-Up!”

The coach even hollered a couple of states. I think. I’m not sure if there are girls on the team who go by those names or if he names his plays, but it was interesting.

Got to meet his little girl, too. The tyke walked straight across the court at half-time to show Omega her sparkly black boots. (Now I want some!)

And I learned a thing or two.

  • There are different sizes of basketballs–one for girls, and another for boys. (I had to be careful writing that sentence!)
  • Refs have a sense of humor, even while they’re making bad calls. (Faith did NOT knock that girl down.)
  • Refs will answer the score keeper if she hollers that he made a bad call. “Stop it. That’s not your daughter,” they’ll say.
  • Spectators can’t get in trouble as long as they keep their mouths shut and don’t get physical. Mean looks can’t get you thrown out of the game. (I tested that theory when Faith did NOT knock that girl down.)
  • Refs have to be tough or they’ll get their feelings hurt bad. “Got a rope. Got a tree . . . Now all we need’s . . . (can anyone finish that cheer?) 😛

“Yeah, I’m told I made a bad call at nearly every game.” (He was cute, so it was okay.)

  • At tournaments, there’s usually a secret room filled with yummy munchies (they call it a hospitality room, but I can think of much better names for it) for coaches, refs and score keepers, ONLY. Players and spectators (and sisters of the score keeper) aren’t allowed.
  • After the game, every girl on each team slaps hands with every girl on the other and says, “Good game! Good game!” If there’s 15 girls on each team, and each girl says “Good game!” fifteen times, that’s 225 ‘good games’ all echoing through the gym at the same time.

I kept waiting for a Chevy-Chase-Christmas-Vacation-girl to go through the line. “Good game. Good Gravy. Good Golly Miss Molly,” but it didn’t happen. (Would anyone notice if they did?)

Have you been to a girls’ basketball game lately? Did you learn anything?  Can you finish that cheer?