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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...


"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Why are you doing this?

Why am I doing this?: I'm writing this blog for a few reasons:

(1) I love high school basketball, especially Shaker: I've been a huge fan of high school athletics - and particularly Shaker boys' basketball - for as long as I can remember. I was born in 1978 and since my mom worked at Southgate at the time, my parents toted me along to Shaker games all throughout the famous 1978-79 and 1979-80 season. Not that I remember it, but I was there. I can vividly remember "Sam Perkins Night"in 1987, my father and I standing in awe as Sam signed my program from the night, which I still have. Even those it's 14 years later and I was only 13 years old at the time, I can still name the starting five on Shaker 1991 sectional championship team (Kanders, Hart, Haver, Fields, and St. Gelais), easily describe in detail the Hart-to-Kanders pass that produced the winning basket in the sectional finals against Columbia in Glens Falls that year, and describe in detail to you the euphoric feeling I got standing in the student section at HVCC - confetting flying, air horns blaring, and bleachers shaking - when Haver knocked down a 3-pointer to give Shaker its first (and as it turn out, only) lead, 3-2, in the state regional finals that year. It really was my introduction to be a true sports fan.

And I'm not just a Shaker fanatic. I really enjoy all high school basketball. There's just no better entertainment for your money than paying $3 on a Friday night to watch a high school hoops game between two evenly matched teams in a crowded gym. It's a guaranteed good time. And if you don't make a trip to the sectionals, well you're just missing out. The top teams in the area simply can put on a show when the chips are down. It never fails. Now the best part of this is that Shaker has put together a team this year that can make a serious run at the sectional title. Honestly, you have no excuse not to come out and watch this team, it's just fun.

For these reasons, it was a no-brainer for me to write about it. I simply love it.

(2) The media coverage of high school basketball stinks: All that said, it's almost impossible to follow high school basketball in this area without going to the games in person. The newspaper coverage is basically atrocious, and the TV coverage is probably worse. You just can't seem to get anyone who wants to cover the teams in real depth. Part of the problem is structural - there are just too many teams and not enough journalists to offer the kind of coverage that college or pro teams can recieve. And that's what great about blogs - I can focus on one team and cover them really well. It just works out.

(3) Most people know a bit about Shaker in 1979, but not much more than that: I've always wanted to research the 1979-80 Shaker team a little more. Everyone knows the basics of the story - Sam Perkins went to Shaker and the basketball team was really good -but very few people know much more than that. Now, I know quite a bit more than that, but certainly not the whole story. I thought this blog would be a nice place to output some of my research on the topic.

(4) I write a local Albany blog, and I thought this would be a nice diversion for a while: I author a local blog about Albany politics, culture, and life called Oh, SmAlbany!, and I've been looking to take a break from it for a while to let my writing refresh itself. I didn't want to completely give up blog writing, so Girmindl's Ghost made perfect sense - a nice 3 month project that could be a narrowly focused creative outlet.

So there it is in a nutshell. That's why I'm writing this blog.
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