That’s How I Beat Shaq

Would ya look at that! Another title you most definitely should not take literally.

Basketball has never been my thing. I played it growing up—along with just about every other sport—but could never master the mental aspect.

Had it been purely hand-eye coordination, I’d have been all about it. But it wasn’t. So I stuck with softball, track and golf.


But you know what they say: Those who can’t do, spectate.

Can you believe I was never named all-state?

The same way I attended football games every Friday in the fall, I would become a courtside regular in the winter.

Please remember I attended an all-girls school, cutting the number of opportunities to attend a varsity sporting event in half.

Which is why I made friends with people from just about every other high school in town and bandwagon’ed my way to their football and basketball games.

It was the best. Still is, to be totally honest.

I’ve never stopped loving high school sports.

It helps that my job involves marketing to coaches and athletes at all levels of every sport. But even if I was a chemical engineer or dog walker, I doubt I’d go more than a month without hitting up a local event.

(That sounds creepy but you get it it’s fine we’re fine SHHHHHHH)

So imagine my joy when Drew decided to start coaching high school football a few years ago.

Never mind that we had no previous ties to the school, its team or the athletes. It didn’t take long for us to give all of the damns.

And for the last three football seasons, every Friday night has been spoken for.

Coming from Nebraska, there’s a solid chance your alma mater will play a few random opponents each year—assuming neither is in the state’s top class.

And while my alma mater doesn’t have a football team to serendipitously appear on Drew’s schedule, my bandwagon schools do!

But they never have—at least not in football.

FORTUNATELY, a few of the football kids also play basketball and they recently had a game just up the road at one of the aforementioned bandwagon schools so we went and oh my gosh you guys.

The nostalgia was beyond words.

More overwhelming than anything I’ve felt on a Friday night since graduating 10 (!?!) years ago. Stronger than what’s felt as I casually pass my old school running an errand on that side of town.

And it’s not like I saw a ton of people from back in the day! (Though the one guy I did see was a staple of my high school years, so that probably has a lot to do with this mush fest, sorry.)

But the sights, sounds and smells of that gymnasium hadn’t changed a bit.

That’s why high school sports will always be great. Whether you played them, watched them or just generally enjoyed them growing up.

They’re so PURE.

Just as important as raw talent are the fundamentals.

Students are cheering for their actual classmates—the kids they passed in the hall just two hours earlier, whom they’ll see at Village Inn as soon as the game is over, win or lose.

The same bond formed between players is shared by their parents.

Coaches don’t do it for the money. They do it for the sake of bringing out the best in each athlete.

Call me simplistic, but I don’t see any of the above changing anytime soon.

Which is why I’ll continue to love high school sports until the day I die.

Please pray for my unborn children who will have no choice but to participate in everything.

And for Drew, because I’m probably going to drag him to more of those basketball games now that I’m aware of the joy they bring.


Title Credit: Aaron Carter

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