Some people may not like sitting on the floor. Personally, I think it’s the best seat in the house.
After sitting at home all day Monday, and watching the Big East Tournament all day Tuesday, my dad and I went to the local high school basketball game last night. It was the first play-in, pig-tail game of the state tournament, and I was excited just to be back at my alma mater catching a game. I managed this team while I was in high school and it became one of my favorite experiences. It was definitely a balancing act, a balance I struggled with for a long time, but I loved every second of it. I was in charge of the stats, the equipment, the water, and the logistics, but I had the best seat in the house at the end of the bench. Half the time, I was too nervous to actually sit in that seat, and ended up squatting on the floor.
Things have changed a lot since I was in high school. Once the sole manager, they now have six managers in charge of the equipment and only some of the stats, and they have four elementary school kids in charge of giving the players water. One of those kids is my coach’s six-year-old son, Jaxson, and he loves that job almost as much as he loves the trash man. And if you knew Jax, you’d know that means he loves his job a lot. One of my favorite things is seeing how he’s gone from wanting nothing to do with basketball to loving watching his dad run up and down the sidelines coaching the team. He’s taken my spot on the floor.
I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school and basketball was one of the things I always loved. Loving basketball gave me this immense pride for my high school I still carry around. I hated a lot of other programs in our league while I was with the team. And those programs produced a lot of great players, a lot of great players that now play for Temple. To have watched those guys for years in high school, following them from my seat on the bench, and now cheer for them as classmates, it’s a pretty cool feeling. Coach still teases me about those old rivalries, but having them only gives me a deeper investment in the Owls’ team, in the Owls’ players.
My school ended up losing last night in overtime, but high school basketball is cyclical. I remember how devastated I was when my senior season came to an abrupt end. But I still come back, every year, and watch the new kids go through what I went through. Their season might be over, but there will always be basketball to be played. The fans were loud, the players were passionate, and they all played their hardest. All you can ask for is to leave it all on the court. They definitely made me proud and it was a great homecoming.