I feel a mix of emotions. I forget about the feelings that whirl through me every year. That is, until I feel them again. I truly enjoy being on the court. I may not be as quick or aggressive or in shape as i used to, but my heart. My heart is still in it. There is so much you learn and experience being a member of a team and no matter what you go through, you experience it together. I like that. You form memories that last a life time. And for me, they are wonderful ones.
As i ran up and down the court today i reminisced about the days gone by...
I remembered how Mr. Budish would buy me a bottle of Cranberry Ocean spray before the games. I remembered how when we were running around tense and frustrated on the court, i would look over at Mr. Budish and all he had to do was put his hands in front of him palms facing down and lift them up and down. Reminding us to "settle down" It worked amazingly. I can still see him shake his head with disappointment after we would miss a lay up. Never miss a layup. On practice days when we were so tired, i remember Kari and i thinking (i don't know why) that maybe he would forget to have us run lines. As if. But, like always, he would pause and look down at the notecard he was holding... "Alright, everybody on the line" he would say with the calm demeanor that he always had. That was it. Kari and i just took a deep breath and did as we were told.. Some days, we thought we wouldn't make it, but somehow we always managed to get to the end. And it was always a buggar running next to Kristen or Emily (Or Amy or Katie). Man those guards could run fast! (and competitive to the core)
I can remember coming into a game after being out for a few days, sick. Kate was on a fast break and i was in front of her. I vividly remember her yelling "GO!!!!" to me. (notice the exclamations? They are there to emphasize her, ummm, commanding enthusiasm?) But I remember thinking, "This is my GO!!..." Hahaha, I couldn't get going any faster after being so sick (or maybe ever). I am pretty sure that she took that basket for herself.
I couldn't imagine playing without my other half. The other "Tower of Power", Julia. There was no greater team mate. She seemed to know just when to pass and just when to push. She made me look like a better athlete than i was. That girl was a ball player. (still is)
I remember Merry always at the top of the key, turning and somehow always getting a traveling call. She moved fast.
Tonya was on the ground more than she was on her feet i think. If there ever was a better "scrapper," i never knew. She was tough. Sweet little Tonya, who would have thought?
And who could forget Amy? That girl could steel the ball from anyone. She had more break aways than anyone. But, she was a Budish, would we expect less?
Kinsey Munds. That name still burns my hide. She better hope she never runs into me in a dark alley. That was a feud that i will have in my head forever.(Though strangely, i can't even remember why?) I just know I didn't like her. Then there was Caroline Moose. Anyone remember her? I do. The gigantic 6 foot 6 star of Blake High School. That highlight reel played on the news over and over (you know, the one where she faked right and someone (me) totally fell for it! Argh.). I can still remember doing that jump ball . I squatted with all my might and jumped as high and as hard as i could. I was just hoping to catch a piece of the ball. You know, be a competitor? I remember hearing the whistle and jumping...I must have closed my eyes or something, because the next thing I know I'm face first in her armpit!! Not a good game. Not a good game at all.
Those are the memories that i will cherish forever. I felt untouchable when i was out on that court. When i think of the best memories of my high school experience, i think of basketball.
So today, i enjoyed playing. Really enjoyed it. But being on that court, in a corner of my heart, i felt sadness. I miss Mr.Budish. My fondest memories of basketball always included him. So to go through the motions today without hearing anyone else express the loss, makes me sad. I know i thought he hung the moon. Truly. From the first practice, i respected him. And that respect grew and grew. Even as an adult. When i would see him at church i felt like i had to sit a little taller and make sure i was always at my best. I know that i feel about 1/1000th of the pain that his family feels. But i still feel it.
I watch his amazing daughter, now a mother and wife. I see his fantastic sons playing on the court. I talk to his wonderful wife and all the while, i feel a little tug of sadness. What a family. They are so amazing. There is a strength, a depth in them. Its phenomenal. It was amazing watching Nathan play ball today. Everything about him reminded me of Mr. Budish. What a gift.
As i remember the highlight of my high school career and feel the joy and happiness that consumes me when i am part of a team, i also remember Mr. Budish.
My memories are happy ones. My team mates are my friends for life. My emotions are mixed.
There is nothing like being part of a team. Nothing. Especially one as fantastic as the one that i belonged to.
So, to honor those memories, i dug out the old pictures and i want to share them with you guys.(Just imagine an awesome song playing inspirationally in the background!!)