West Virginia basketball coach, Bob (Huggy Bear) Huggins recently was attributed the following quote,
“Today’s players don’t play the right way because they don’t play on the blacktop w/ older guys. You’d take a bad shot, wouldn’t play defense, wouldn’t play hard, you wouldn’t get picked. There’s nothing worse than sitting out in the hot sun and not being picked”
Huggins is quite a character as evidenced by this recent ESPN article about him. Having played a lot of basketball on blacktop surfaces after my barnyard basketball playing days as a youngster were over, I can personally attest to the challenges of blacktop basketball.
Near an apartment complex were I lived in northwest Dayton back in the late 60’s, there was a blacktop court in College Hill Park that attracted some of the best players in the area. As is evident from the current aerial photo below, the court has seen better days. Pickup basketball games were exactly as Coach Huggins described in his quote. Players would congregate about 7:00 every week night for some pick-up basketball. To get the ball rolling, all the players would shoot from a distance about where today’s three point line is (no such line existed back then). First two to make a shot picked the teams. And as he implied, there was indeed nothing worse than not being picked.
A root canal in those days meant a dentist has to drill through the tooth stub to the nerve core, insert a hot metal probe into the tooth's core to burn off all the nerve tissue and cauterize the nerve ending, followed by inserting a silver rod into the nerve core to which the crown would be anchored. Inserting that inch-long burning hot probe into my tooth was the worst. It seemed to take forever reheating and reinserting the probe into the tooth until the dentist reached the end of the root. But fortunately he did it right, as the root canal hung in there for 50 years until…..
The tip of the tooth’s root was exposed during the surgery, as is evident by the white dot on the above actual photo taken during the surgery. Fortunately, the doctor thoroughly numbed me up, and after applying an ice pack to the area on and off for 8 hours afterwards, I felt very little pain. Stitches have been removed and everything is back to normal. Except of course my basketball playing days are over, having given up the game a long ago, except as a spectator, in my dreams and vicariously through this blogpost!
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