Who knew that I would ever have to contemplate what to wear to a hall of fame induction? It’s not sensible (except from a fundraising point of view though they’ve misjudged me in that regard) for me to be inducted into my high school’s athletic hall of fame though that is what happened on Friday. I was one of dozens of women who decades ago were part of the Academy of the Holy Cross Varsity basketball teams from several seasons that were coached by beloved and no longer with us Bill Sheahan. Once we started winning, the team didn’t stop–for 6 years. I, of course, played the smallest role possible in this era. I didn’t lose a game for the team. Sitting on the bench most of my junior year and deciding not to play at all my senior year adds up to a hall of fame career. Well-played! Except I’ve known for oh, about 32 years that it was one of the dumbest things I ever did not to play on the team my senior year so I missed being a part of the season the team broke the Washington D. C. area high school record of 55 consecutive victories and kept on going over the years to 115 or some such. That adds up to a lot of people at a lot of schools hating good ole AHC. It is pretty cool to be reminded of just how many of the girls who went through the program wound up playing in college–when that wasn’t a halfway regular thing to do. My class had girls go to JMU and UVA on scholarship. Others played at William & Mary and St. Mary’s and University of Richmond. Even I played a year in college though I hated it for reasons that included having 3 different coaches in one season–each worse than the previous one.
I don’t remember much about the era, other than hanging out in the halls waiting for games or practice to begin and having so much fun cheering the varsity romp when I was on j.v.. Catholic girls can hate opposing teams like no other: sorry bout that Regina, Seton, Immaculate Conception. I’m thinking the Virgin Mary wasn’t our biggest fan. The bus rides to games, singing slightly risque versions of our alma mater. “Holy Cross, we sing to thee, pledging our virginity… Cross and Anchor emblems bright, guiding us to heaven’s light….” Not sure it’s worked out quite as the sisters planned.
It was odd to be back in the gym the other night for the festivities. Lots of semi-familiar faces and familiar names attached to them. I would have preferred that we play an old-timers game or at least play a game of HORSE. I could take most of those gals now. When I coached middle school and JV girls basketball in my 40’s it was clear to me that I was a late bloomer. I was a player with those kids as long as I had 30 years on them. And it is a sad state of affairs that I was in better shape than too many of those young ones. Now that I’m 50, I still think I could show those punk kids a thing or two, which is funny since when I was a punk kid I couldn’t do much. It’s unlikely I’ve become a better basketball player in the intervening years. But at least my delusions are in good shape.