Page 19: From Football to Basketball

Christa began paging through her photo albums.  She must piece together as much of Joe’s life as she could and talk to him every day about the pictures and what was going on in his life at the time.
She came upon the newspaper clipping she had saved from Joe’s high school basketball days.  

“Aden Selected for All-Star Team,” the header read, his high school graduation picture displayed directly under the header.  Joe was the only player from Elsmore to make the all-star team his senior year and all of the other players were from the bigger city high schools.  

Just like football, Joe waited until his junior year to go out for basketball.  His football coach encouraged him.  “Someone your size can only be an asset to our basketball program,” Coach Larson had said.

While Joe may have been tall, his size made him a bit uncoordinated and he spent most of the games sitting on the bench.  Frustrated over never being able to play, Joe finally asked his coach one night after practice what he needed to do in order to start.  “Aden,” he said, “just try a little harder and maybe you can start.”

From that day on, Joe worked harder than he ever had before.  The other boys on the team continued to pick on him, just like they had ever since Joe came to Elsmore High.  They knew they could get away with their teasing, because Joe never did anything back to them.  He just took it all in and walked away.

But now Joe was determined to show them.  Just like he showed them in football.  He was going to get a starting spot on the basketball team.  

Sure enough, three weeks later, Joe came home after school, all excited, “Guess what, Mom?”

“What?” Christa replied.

“Guess what? Just guess what?” he said beamingly.

“What?” Christa knew it must be something big.

“Just guess!”

Christa was getting impatient, “WHAT?”

“I’m starting tonight,” Joe said proudly.

It meant so much to him.  And from that game on, Joe started and played every game.  While he wasn’t much of a shot, he became the team’s best defensive player and led the team in rebounding.  And, that’s why he made the all-star team.

Facts:  Joe didn’t start playing basketball until his junior year, and he did ask the coach what he needed to do to start.  Joe was selected to be on WCCO’s All-Star team.

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