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The great 7th grade basketball draft

The only time I experienced moving to a new town in the middle of the school year was in seventh grade.

I had not been at my new junior high long before it was time for the intramural basketball season.

For reasons known only to Mr. Kangas, the shop teacher in charge of that Saturday morning extracurricular activity, I was chosen to be one of four team captains. A nice honor and all. But I had no real idea who was good and who wasn't.

So when the boys who had signed up for intramurals gathered in the school cafeteria one afternoon for the selection of teams, I was at a serious disadvantage.

Knowing next to nothing about the basketball skills of the assembled lads, I had to rely on an alternative drafting strategy.

I chose boys who had been friendly to me, the new kid.

There was a boy named Rich. One named Peter. The Ketola twins. And three or four others.

And you know what happened?

No. This was real, not a movie. We stunk.

Whoever said “Nice guys finish last” apparently knew what he was talking about.

My family moved again before 10th grade. I lost touch with the boys who were on that hapless team.

But I hope they went on to lead happy, fulfilling lives. My guess is that most of them did.

Those guys weren't really losers.

They just couldn't make a lay-up.

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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