When the Crowd Went Wild: My Moment of Basketball Glory

ChinoCowboylogo

The Chino High School logo for the Cowboys

Ann’s discussion of mascots brought back memories of Chino High School, my alma mater. We were the Chino High Cowboys. In an earlier blog (The Cowgirl and the Coach: A Somewhat Modern Fairy Tale) I wrote about my one year stint in 1966 when I returned to Chino High as a teacher and swimming coach.  In that blog I put out the teaser that if I got the nerve one day I would write about my athletic prowess as a student there.  That day has come.

To start with, let’s just say that I was not known around campus as a jock.  I did earn a varsity letter for playing trumpet in the band each year, but that was not much of a chick magnet compared to a varsity letter in football or basketball.

My moment of glory came in my junior year when I was on the Chino High School “B” basketball team.  The B team generally played prior to the varsity game; sort of like a warm-up performance by an obscure band at a rock concert prior to the main attraction.  For me the most exciting times were in the pre-game warm-ups when we were all out on the floor shooting baskets and trying to look cool. During the actual game I always ended up on the bench.

Andys BB team circled

I’m #15 in this photo from the 1960 Chino High School Yearbook.

For most of our games the only spectators in the bleachers were some parents and maybe a random girlfriend or two.  But on this occasion we were playing at Pomona High School, our school’s arch rival (at least at the varsity level).  So by half time the Pomona High gymnasium was packed with fans waiting for the “big” game following ours.

Pomona Red Devils

Per usual, I warmed the bench for most of the game.   But during a timeout called by Pomona with only minutes left, and with our team well ahead (the final score was 35 to 64!), Coach Guillen looked down the bench and signaled for me to go in.  Whoa!  My big chance before a packed stadium.

Pomona had a throw-in at mid court when I jogged onto the court.  Anticipating their inbounds pass, I intercepted and dribbled past two of their players and drove for the basket.  Because I had never quite mastered the art of doing layups with my left hand I had to veer to the right for the layup.  Unfortunately, I missed the shot.  Fortunately, I was fouled by one of the Pomona players in the act of shooting.

layup

Looks easy, but I could never do it.

Most unfortunately, it turned out that I had gone the wrong direction and had attempted to score on our own basket.  The crowd was going nuts.

And it got worse.  I was awarded a free throw for the foul and had to take a seemingly endless walk to the other end of the court to take the foul shot while the crowd was up and cheering (jeering?).

I pulled myself together, stepped up to the free throw line, and took my shot – only to watch the ball bounce off the rim.  My one chance to score for the entire season evaporated.

At the time it crossed my mind to ask why I didn’t get two free throws for a foul when I was in the act of shooting, but I decided against drawing more attention to myself.  In fact, more than anything I just wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.

When the game mercifully ended a few minutes later and our team gathered around our bench, Coach Guillen was laughing so hard tears were streaming down his face.  Little did either of us realize at that time that I would some day return to Chino High and be a varsity coach. Does that mean I got the last laugh?

MrDeseranYearbookPhoto

Laughing for the 1967 CHS Yearbook

6 Comments

  1. g2-687029bbb8ccbba9867442195ca0e054 says:

    That would explain your nickname of “Wrong Way Deseran” among your cycling cohort. Someday, I may tell you about my encounter with the high school homecoming queen.

    Like

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