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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: This field of dreams is about hoop dreams

June 5, 2022 Updated Sun., June 5, 2022 at 4:09 p.m.

By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

My husband will stop at nothing for a good game of basketball. The love of the game is apparently in the Ditto blood. Family legend has it that Logan’s father, Ken Ditto, would bring gym clothes, tennis shoes, a basketball and a net with him any time he traveled.

No matter where in the country he was, he would find an outdoor basketball court and shoot hoops with anyone who was willing to play, be it inner-city kids, dads watching their children at the park or whomever.

Logan has that same level of dedication to the game. Twice a week, he wakes up at 5 in the morning to play “old man basketball” with a group of other middle-aged guys before they head to their respective jobs for the day.

When he and his siblings get together over the holidays, they will move heaven and earth to carve out a few hours to play together. But this is simply not enough for Logan. He must have access to a basketball hoop at all times, no matter what.

I learned this lesson when we lived in our old house on the South Hill and Logan scouted out the perfect spot on our detached garage where he could attach a basketball hoop. Unfortunately, the area was impeded by a low-hanging power line that led from the garage to the house.

It wasn’t low enough to be a danger to anyone walking below, but it would definitely get in the way of a perfectly lobbed three-point shot. Obviously, something had to be done. So, Logan did what I think any reasonable homeowner would do.

He rented a concrete saw, cut a 3-foot-deep trench out of the length of the driveway, disconnected, buried and reconnected the wire and then poured a new swath of concrete over the whole mess. And just like that, a homemade basketball court was born.

I thought we were done with such shenanigans when we moved into our new house and Logan quickly purchased a portable basketball hoop, which he set up in our heated workshop in the winter and brought out onto the driveway in the spring and summer.

But after the hoop was blown over a few times by strong winds, Logan decided that he needed a more permanent solution. And, finally, last weekend he got his wish. Installing a permanent basketball hoop in 2022 is not the wham-bam pour-some-concrete-and-stick-a-pole-into-it experience that I remember my dad doing in the 1980s.

Installing this hoop would require digging a 4-foot hole through the fractured basalt that sits under our lawn next to the driveway, then mixing and pouring 960 pounds of concrete into the hole, then inserting a special bolt plate that needed to be lined up “just so,” and then somehow finagling a bazillion-ton pole and backboard into place.

“Five capable adults are necessary for the installation of this basketball hoop,” the instruction booklet warned as I stood outside and watched the preparation process with our kids, not one of us what I would call a “capable adult.”

“Five adults,” Logan pish-poshed. “All I need is a tractor and a wife.” “I think you’re overestimating how strong I am,” I called after him as he headed down our driveway to retrieve the tractor from the barn. “My wrist still hurts from when I moved the rice cooker the other day!”

It was to no avail. Soon enough, the tractor was chugging its way up our driveway, and the kids and I knew our fate was sealed. We spent the next hour and a half maneuvering various basketball hoop components into place using nothing but one nylon tie-down strap, the tractor bucket and our bare hands. A stray 2-by-4 came in handy at one point, as well.

Installations such as this are truly a Ditto experience. If the Ditto men had a motto, it would be, “I can do this no matter how long it takes or how janky of a process it becomes. Hand me a wrench and a 2-by-4, and I will accomplish any dubious task. Nothing will stand in my way. I am a Ditto man.”

The harder the task, the louder the mantra becomes. Especially when there’s basketball involved.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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