By Rob Ficiur
This past weekend across Alberta Basketball Provincials created new champions and entertained fans across the province. Provincial Basketball Fever hit our home Thursday and lasted for three days until the final buzzer rang.
Much has changed: When our daughter went to provincials in 1992, we waited until long after the game was over to find out the results. She phoned and gave us the update. [For those too young to remember twenty years ago very few people had cell phones, and a text was a book that teachers gave us to study from.]
In 2014 we could watch, from the comfort of our computer desk, any game we wanted to; anywhere in the province. The technology was good but not great. One game we watched it was hard to read the score clock. “I think that is a 6 but it could be a 4…” If it was a six we were winning by lots, if it was a four things were looking bad.
As we watched my niece’s Thursday night game, the screen went blank with a minute to go in the game. Now what? In the year 2014 there was a simple solution. During the game, we saw one of our sons in the stands cheering on his cousin. We texted him for the final score.
Websites are only as good as the person updating them. Did the Gershaw boys win? Did the Gershaw girls win? How did Foremost do? All this information was available on the Alberta Basketball website…except when it wasn’t. “That game was last night, why hasn’t it been updated?” Through facebook it was easy to find out who won and who lost.
We got home from Lethbridge Provincials, for the last few minutes of the Gershaw boys first place game against Rosemary. Gershaw was behind by one point. They had to foul Rosemary about four times before they somehow got the ball back. Their goal was to have Rosemary go to the foul line – first time I remember not having too few fouls as being a problem. Not sure how it all happened, but with two seconds left; down by one point Gershaw had one chance to win. The inbound pass was perfect…the shot was up there…rolling around the rim…it missed…someone tipped it back up…NO! the ball rolled out of the rim on to the ground. A heart breaking loss – so close.
Too bad there was no video replay on the website. Even without the sound, I could feel the anguish of those who lost. Not hard to tell the enthusiasm of those who won.
We spent part of Saturday watching our niece in Provincial tournament. Sadly her team lost on Friday, so this was the consolation game, not the pressure and excitement of a provincial championship. Since she is in Grade 12, we all knew it was the last game of her high school career.
As the game went on, I took the chance to ask my two sons that were with us, if they remembered their final Grade 12 basketball game. Both lost out in zones their senior year, but they remembered. “We almost tied it up in the last seconds…” one remembered as her loudly cheered his cousin on.
“Do you remember the nearly flagrant foul you got in the last minute of your last game?” I asked my other son.
“Dad, your memory is fading…Oh…a few years ago I had a university class with that guy; he was cool.” (See old Dad remembers a few things right).
I spent the first half taking pictures with my new camera. I got better pictures of my niece’s basketball games in one day than any of my own children in any of their sports: badminton, volleyball, curling, basketball, soccer and basketball. Action pictures are much clearer with a new camera. (And I won’t have dozens and dozens of blurring poor colored pictures in a box).
At half time I took about one hundred pictures of my one year old grandson. “Look he is crawling. Look at his cute smile. Look at him play with the rug…What? The ball game has started again… Yes, I guess we could watch that too.” Grandson began to cry when noisy fans screamed. I wanted to tell those fans off, but I realized that was my son, grandson’s papa being so loud.
My world has changed since our first Basketball Provincial Tournament. We had six children who we loved to take hither and yon (and on and on the miles would go). Graduation may be the end of school sports, but it is the beginning of new chapters in life. Now we have added three fabulous children of the in-law variety; one son in law and two daughters in law. Instead of following our children around for badminton or soccer now we have three grandchildren to entertain us; each in their own way.
One thing hasn’t changed; no matter how close we were, there is only one team that won the title of Provincial Champion…(until we do it all again next year).