Last night I went to a basketball game. On the drive I thought about how boring the game will probably be. How watching a bunch of 8-10 year-olds run up and down the court would be torturous: “just make a BASKET!”
Taking the Grand exit off of I-70 we searched for Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. My Father In Law (Ray) had been here before but he got a little lost. We turned off Grand and onto Natural Bridge, took a little detour through a park and found our way back to Grand and heading back south. We found the center (just needed to go a little further down to Dodier) and parked on the street.
During our drive down I-70 Ray told me about growing up in this area of St. Louis. He said that his brother and he would caddy during the morning and then run down to Sportsman’s park, pay .75¢ to get into the bleachers, buy a dog and a soda, and still have money left in their pockets after the game was over (they made $2.50 caddying). I asked him where Sportsman’s Park used to be, he said around this area of Grand and 70. The funny thing is, Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club is on the old Sportsman’s Park site. Weird how things work out.
The game started at 7:00. Two 16-minute halves. It was the championship game of this 8-10 year old girl league. My niece was playing on the the St. Louis Majestics. The opposing team was the Night Train. The place was jumping. Hip hop music blared through the two loud speakers as the girls were introduced like they were in the NBA (make that the WNBA). Even the stands were sectioned off. Majestic fans on one side, Night Train fans on the other.
The first half wasn’t good for the Majestics. They just couldn’t buy a bucket (I’m thinking there was a lid on their basket, an invisible lid). Night Train went into half time with a COMMANDING 4-0 lead.
The Majestics got their stuff together during half time and came out RUNNING. I don’t have the official statistics on this, but a rough estimation tells me that the ball never made it into the Night Train’s end until 7 minutes into the second half. The Majestics were playing EXCELLENT half-court basketball. Yes, there were about a million traveling and double-dribble calls. But that didn’t stop the Majestics. They’d just steal the ball right back after the Night Train’s in-bound pass.
The Majestics tied the game at 4-4 with about 2 minutes to go. Night Train got a quick bucket in a rare fast break to bring the score 6-4. The Majestics weren’t defeated. A quick bucket on their in tied it up again. THE CROWD WAS CRAZY! The inbound pass was stolen and put up by the Majestics. BUCKET! Oh, but no good, traveling. Damn.
OVERTIME! Overtime in a little girl’s championship basketball game. You’d think this was a sweet 16 game with a number 12 playing a number 3 or something.
Overtime was 3 minutes. The first minute and a half was hell. The Majestics had shot after shot after shot JUST miss; off the rim, over the rim, off the backboard, over the backboard.
With less than a minute to go, and with AMPLE opportunities on both sides to seal the deal, there was a shooting foul. “Foul on number 13, Night Train.” Ok number 12, take your time, no need to rush it. First shot, AIR BALL! Second shot, a rainbow………………AND IT’S GOOD! The Majestics have the lead 7-6.
Less than a minute to go and the Majestics are pressing. Double-team! Stay on your man (or woman).
But, there’s a shooting foul at the other end. Oh man, this could tie the game AGAIN! Number 6 on Night Train takes the line. She waits, she waits, she dribbles, she waits…………too long. Ball to the Majestics.
The Majestics keep the ball at their end until 5 seconds to go. There’s a steal but not in time. THE MAJESTICS WIN!
The trophy is brought out, little girls SCREAM. I’ll tell you, I haven’t been that excited about a girl’s basketball game in……forever.