|The Fieldhouse fills with basketball
players hanging around rims eagerly waiting for a stray rebound
to bounce their way. There's a fake right, a sharp spin to
the left, two rapid dribbles, a quick jump and finish with
the shoot. Like a small child's hand reaching into the cookie
jar the ball is effortlessly launched by the player's right
hand into the air. Eyes are drawn to the ball's lines as they
rotate perfectly through the air towards and through the basket.
The net snaps, making a sweet swish sound that resounds towards
the shooter's ears. Except the shooter, no one really notices
but the perfect move and shot has been completed. Everyone
is full of promise and shining like stars.
A player casually comments to his teammates: "One time
I scored 30 points..." then pauses.
"...in warm-ups." His teammates laugh as they exchange
The seats surround the hardwood floors are packed with
family members and friends. Other onlookers occuppy balcony
seats and second floor railings. 54 teams containing up
to 6 players are competing in one of four divisions. There
are 9 men's open, 6 youth open, 17 co-ed and 22 men's recreation
teams entered. Each game is half-court with two 15 minute
halves and an official. Local volunteers help keep score
and run the clock.
Although each player is unique as a person they share
a special bond: they have all received some type of life-saving
transplant. But they are also players who still have a love
for the game of basketball and a desire to compete. Too,
they are people who want the world to understand that they
are just like everyone else; that transplantation helped
restore them to an active quality to life.
They just had to make a few more jump-fakes before completing
their perfect shot.