December in Maine means two things; Snow is on the way and high school basketball season is ready to get started. I thought of my weekly musings while sitting on the bench at our recent preseason games at Foxcroft Academy. We were playing Piscataquis Community High School on Friday night. They are a longtime rival. In fact, I played my very last high school game of my career against the Pirates, in a 106-79 loss on 2/9/95. Ouch. It could have been worse. Without me, we would have lost 106-73. As we are a Class B school in the Big East, we don’t play PCHS anymore during the regular season, so the preseason is as close as we will get to the rivalry. So here was my thought; I never remember a winter without basketball being a big part of my life.
I turned 40 this year, so I don’t really remember much before I was 7. With that said, for every winter since 1982-83, basketball has been a part of me. My dad coached the middle school team in Dover-Foxcroft from 1983-1991. I was the little 7 year old pain in the butt, that got stuffed in gym lockers a few times and totally deserved it. But in between being annoying, I learned how to keep a scorebook, wash practice jerseys, run a few offenses, and run the game clock.
I played basketball all the way from 3rd grade until my senior year of high school. When not playing in games, I kept the clock for freshman games, A and B team middle school games, and I did PA my sophomore year, which lead to my first ever radio game in January 1993, Foxcroft vs. Penquis Boys. I broke my hand halfway through my sophomore year and had the sit out the rest of the year. That’s how I was available, and how I got my start.
After I graduated, I took the IAABO referee course and immediately worked my way up the ladder. I was a very young varsity and tournament official, and was very proud of that. I ended up giving that up due to my broadcast job, but that blossomed into something great. The tourney is still the best week of the year and I’m looking forward to a great 2018.
So on Friday night, I was able to do PA for both girls and boys preseason games, run practice for my FA Freshman boys team, sit on the bench for the varsity boys game, and on Sunday, I broke out the stripes again and refereed two travel league games. Ironically, the only thing I didn’t do this weekend was broadcast, but that time will come over the next few months.
So, while I’m not scoring points anymore on the floor, I think I’m still making a difference in the game I love. Isn’t that what life's all about, making a difference? I can thank basketball for that. Enjoy the start of the 2017-18 winter sports season!