Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
News >  Column

Paul Turner: Let’s say you wake up and discover no one has heard of Hoopfest. What would you do?

There’s this British movie called “Yesterday” coming to a theater near you, as they say.

Perhaps you have heard about it. It’s being described as a “musical fantasy comedy” and centers on something remarkable that happens overnight to a struggling singer-songwriter.

The high-concept premise is, well, let’s just let a few lines from the film’s promotional poster tell the story.

“Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles.

“Today only Jack remembers their songs.

“He’s about to become a very big deal.”

The poster shows the film’s star, Himesh Patel, in the middle of the famous “Abbey Road” crosswalk.

Anyway, all this made me wonder. What if we appropriated the spirit of that far-fetched premise and welded it onto a set-in-Spokane story? The possibilities are endless.

A budding promoter wakes up one day in a version of Spokane where there are no events calling themselves this or that “fest,” and no one has thought of the idea of rewarding participants with T-shirts.

After trying to order something other than a Budweiser in restaurants, an entrepreneurial Spokane beer buff comes to realize he has somehow found himself in a world where the whole idea of craft beers/microbrews has yet to be invented.

A struggling Coeur d’Alene real estate developer wakes up one day and realizes that, despite what he remembers, no one had ever thought of doing anything with our area’s lakefront property.

A curious young marmot arises up one morning to discover that no one else has ever heard of Expo ’74.

A likable though unsuccessful Spokane songwriter awakes to find no one else has ever heard of Bing Crosby or Irving Berlin. A Google search confirms it. His sister suggests he come up with a song for Christmas. Something with snow.

OK, your turn.

What do they recall?

I was talking with an acquaintance on Sunday when she mentioned that she has a daughter living in Tucson.

I told her that I had lived there for a while almost 40 years ago, which is to say in another geologic era. I shared a couple of memories of my time there and acknowledged how much that sunbaked city has changed. For the most part, my report was favorable.

But it got me thinking. When people who left Spokane long ago find themselves recalling the Lilac City, what do you suppose they remember?

Parochialism? Lack of diversity? Salary ceilings? Uncontrolled intersections? Maybe.

But I suspect at least some Spokane expats recall the good stuff. And some of the people.

If you had to guess, what do you suppose you would remember?

Learning about life

I’ll admit, it’s a narrow category. But one of my favorite themes when doing some online reading is complaints about cranky, old, white newspaper columnists across the country.

I always find it entertaining. And occasionally, I think “Hey, I ought to get in on that action.”

Generating similar complaints, that is. So here goes.

America hasn’t been the same since dodgeball fell out of favor.

There, I said it.

Oh, I understand where dodgeball’s critics are coming from. It can be a celebration of the strong picking on the weak. I freely admit that.

Moreover, headshots can smart.

But man, I loved dodgeball. (Maybe you called it bombardment where you grew up.)

Perhaps that was because I probably peaked as an all-around athlete in eighth grade. In a junior high world of hunters and prey, I was a hunter with many pelts on the wall.

That’s not the same thing as being a bully. Not everyone understands that.

Dodgeball offered life lessons. Such as, “If your personality makes people hate you, they will track you down and blast you with a ball thrown so hard it leaves a temporary mark.”

I used to hit kids with the ball with such an emphatic thump that it almost seemed to lift them off their feet. Though I suppose that’s akin to the myth of the rising fastball.

In any case, it was oddly satisfying. And totally within the rules.

But here’s the thing. Boys knew when some of the smaller, slighter kids were being attacked unfairly. So there would be a reckoning in the heavyweight division. Sometimes the more robust boys on either side of the court would mete out frontier justice among themselves while the smaller lads (prey species) would hang back and hope for invisibility.

Dodgeball was not without chivalry.

Some of my proudest moments in gym class came as a result of nailing boys my size or bigger who were trying to brutally waste smaller kids on our half of the court. Hockey’s not the only sport with a role for enforcers, you know.

OK, I realize dodgeball didn’t always place a premium on brains and character. And yes, there was an aspect of survival of the fittest. It was like loosely controlled fighting.

But was that necessarily a bad thing? Do we want kids growing up thinking life is always fair and kind?

I’m not going to say dodgeball built character. But it did.

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at srpaulturner@gmail.com.