EndNotes

Basketball as metaphor

ILE--Referee Earl Strom keeps Houston Rockets Calvin Murphy, left , from getting any closer to Sixers George McGinnis duirng a game in Philadelphia in 1978. Strom, a 29-year NBA official who whistled  calls against players from Wilt Chamberlain's generation to Michael  Jordan's, died Sunday at his home after a long illness at the age of 66. Strom, who retired after working the 1990 NBA Finals, had undergone  surgery in January for a malignant brain tumor. At center is Rockets Dwight Jones. (13) (AP Photo/file)
ILE--Referee Earl Strom keeps Houston Rockets Calvin Murphy, left , from getting any closer to Sixers George McGinnis duirng a game in Philadelphia in 1978. Strom, a 29-year NBA official who whistled calls against players from Wilt Chamberlain's generation to Michael Jordan's, died Sunday at his home after a long illness at the age of 66. Strom, who retired after working the 1990 NBA Finals, had undergone surgery in January for a malignant brain tumor. At center is Rockets Dwight Jones. (13) (AP Photo/file)

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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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.




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