I recently moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina and wear my DUKE shirts (notice I have more than one) proudly around town. I'm a minority as noted by people walking through the same doors as myself. On the way into the cable company, a woman held the door open for a woman BEHIND me and said to her..."YOU have the 'riiieeeght' shirt on'." as she walked through wearing her light carolina blue Tarheel shirt. So as I left, I opened the door for myself and said, "Yes, yes I know I have the 'wrong' shirt on." Again yesterday, a man held the door open for me and commented, "I usually don't hold the door open for Dukies." I responded, "If you can get past this," as I put my open hand motioning around the word DUKE, "I'm really a nice person!" He said, "That was really good, I've never heard that before!" And when served at the local cafe, the lady behind the counter stated, "You are so nice and I really want to like you but THAT as she put her open palm and made a circular motion toward my DUKE chest..." I said, "Really, you are a Tarheel fan? I sooo wanted to like you too!" It is an on going rivalry that will continue until the day I die but I will be a Duke Blue Devil Fan til the end of time. And more so I'll be a fan of the game. Basketball. Hoops. Which leads me back to this new book.
Basketball for me is MORE than just a game. It is a spiritual experience that changed my life. It lead me through an incredibly painful time. For a young girl, who had just lost her home due to a terrible storm that literally blew the roof off her home (think hurricane here as the circumstances were the same) it gave me a new focus, a new goal. I didn't know at the age of fourteen that I was capable of being an athlete. That I could run and not die, that I could look at a rim and put a basketball about 1/2 it's size through that diameter by learning the precision-like form it takes to shoot. And then to do it so often that the rote shooting motion becomes mindless and missing is the rare moment instead of making the basket. That Swish sound is not just a sound but a melody on the backdrop notes of harmony played by the sneakers squeaking against hardwood floors. Give me the gymnasium philharmonic any day as I'd rather be wearing the outfit of t-shirts and shorts than an evening gown for that other symphony anyway!