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Basketball as metaphor

Long before he got sick and died, my dad — who was a relatively well known lawyer in Spokane — would say, “When I die, the guys gathered at the coffee shop will say, 'Too bad about Joe Nappi. (Pause). And look at the time! We're late for our next meeting!”

I always think of his saying when basketball teams lose, as the Zags women's team did last night in their Elite Eight appearance in the Big Dance. 

Life and death remind me of a basketball season.

Some teams make it to the Big Dance, just as some people become super achievers. Others lose every game, just as some people never quite “make it” in ways our society defines that. Most teams, like people, spend their season in the middle. Good games, bad games, injuries, coaches you love, coaches you hate, drama on and off the court.

Then the season's over. The senior stars graduate and are pretty much forgotten, just as people die and are pretty much forgotten, except by some family members. New players come on, just as new children join families, and repeat the same drama in a new season, in a new life cycle. And so forth.

And look at the time! Onto my next meeting.

(AP file photo from 1978)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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