By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal
“When it’s played the way is spozed to be played, basketball happens in the air; flying, floating, elevated above the floor, levitating the way oppressed peoples of this earth imagine themselves in their dreams.”
– John Edgar Wideman
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
– Michael Jordan
My sister recently found some old letters to Santa we’d written to the old guy when we were children.
Clearly, our parents made copies to mail to the North Pole and kept the originals.
We’ve laughed at one of the things on my long-ago wish list: a basketball goal and basketball.
Oddly enough, Santa brought both.
I’d never played basketball in my life. Still haven’t. Unless, of course, one counts shooting hoops or a few dozen games of PIG or HORSE as actually playing basketball.
In high school, I developed a fondness for the game. Watching, not playing. I’m sure it helped that I knew most of the players on both the boys’ and girls’ teams at my school.
After high school, I gave the game of basketball nary a thought – except for loving the movie “Hoosiers” – until just a few years ago when I became a late-blooming believer in basketball.
Not just any basketball. Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols basketball.
I’ve had the opportunity to see them play several times live when games were in Starkville or in Oxford. And last year I sadly watched them fall short of a tourney win in Memphis.
But a little more than a week ago I saw them play again. This time, an incomplete game against the Lady Rebels.
Storms were all over the radar as folks began arriving at the Tad Smith Coliseum two Thursdays ago.
My friend and I arrived early to get tickets to the game. I’d tried for two weeks to purchase them online, but after multiple website problems, I gave up.
I’ve heard about low attendance at basketball games at Ole Miss, and how they want more folks involved, but getting tickets in advance is more than a simple headache. That, however, is a story for another Sunday.
We waited nearly an hour for the ticket booth to open. We were not alone. From every direction of the parking lot they came, loyal Tennessee fans.
Once inside, we settled into a great sea of orange and waited tip-off. Then we remained on our feet until the first Lady Vol basket was made – a tradition I’m told.
With six minutes left to play an hour later and the Lady Vols with a solid lead, the game was called – due to rain. A significant-sized puddle had formed at center court and the water kept coming, making it too dangerous to continue play.
The Tad Pad, it seemed, had sprung a leak.
An indoor ballgame was stopped for rain.
And I was there.
Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@ journalinc.com or (662) 678-1584.