Last night’s boys’ basketball loss to BV Northwest marked the end of high school basketball during my time at Shawnee Mission East.
Plain and simple, I am a basketball fan. But before I get too far into this, I feel the need to tell you that I don’t have the on court experience like Caroline Nick. I haven’t been in the locker room for one of Coach Hair’s half time speeches or guarded against a top college recruit.
Most of my time has been spent in the stands: either playing in pep band, enjoying the game as a spectator or commentating the games for Harbinger Online.
I am by no means a basketball expert. I played my fair share of games when I was younger, putting up average numbers in elementary and middle school. I am a devout follower of Kansas men’s basketball and filling out my March Madness bracket is something of paramount importance. I have always considered myself a college basketball person. High school games were fun, but nothing, I thought, compared to watching Thomas Robinson block Phil Pressey’s last second shot at Phog Allen Field House.
Then I watched time wind down as Emmy Allen of SM South led her team past a Lady Lancer squad that I had been following closely all season. I saw four fantastic seniors walking off the court for the last time as Emmy Allen lingered on the hardwood, celebrating the extension of her high school basketball career. As I tore down the broadcasting table, it really hit me.
I had never been more intrigued by an East team than I was with girls’ basketball squad. I can’t quite peg why I couldn’t stand to miss a game. It might have been because of the athleticism of Shannon McGinley. It might have been losing my voice screaming over the crowd in close games while broadcasting. It might have been seeing the East bench explode game after game as two East players connected on a fast break.
All I know is that this basketball season was a powerful one. As East looks forward to spring athletics, I haven’t been able to let go of the sport I have learned to love at the high school level. Heck, I am a spring athlete and my focus should be anywhere but on a season that provided me no physical preparation for my stint as a javelin thrower.
For now I will follow college basketball, knowing full well that the KU men’s team won’t fill the new void I discovered in these past winter months.