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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

Readers respond...

Your questions answered: Last night's scheduled game at Burnt Hills was indeed cancelled. No word on a makeup date. Without a game to recap, I might as well answer some email, which came flooding in starting yesterday. Each of the following questions got asked multiple times:

Q. How many Shaker games have you been to in your life?

A. Hard to say. I went to numerous games as a baby between 1978-1980, probably 4 or 5 games a year on average from 1981 to 1990, almost every game home and away in 1991,** almost all home games and many away games from 1991 to 1995, a game or two a year from 1996 to 2003, and maybe 5 games last year. I'll probably go to almost all the home games this year and a number of away games. So what's that? Somewhere over 100 and less than 150?

**I'm pretty sure the only game that my Dad and I missed in 1991 was the away game at Columbia, the team Shaker later beat in the sectional finals. We drove out there, but then at the door they told us that the game was sold out. We were walking dejectedly back toward our car when I suggested that we look for a open side door to the school or perhaps climb through an ajar window. I think my father actually considered it for about 10 seconds before rejecting the idea and yelling at me. So we went home. And Shaker got handed their only suburban council outright whipping of the year. And if you think I didn't bring that up every time my dad hesitated about going to a game for like 3 years, well you don't know me well enough.

Q. Will you come sit in the student section for the Columbia game next Tuesday?

A. Maybe. I'm definitely going to sit in the student section for a home game this year, I think it woulud make for a really good essay here on Girmindl's Ghost to keep a running diary of events there over the course of a game. I haven't sat in the student section in 10 years, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. But probably not this Tuesday - I think I want to wait until there is a Friday night home game so that I can maximze the experience. I'll probably aim for Friday, January 13th (yikes!) against Colonie.

Q. How in the hell do you remember 'Sam Perkins Night' so well if you were only 8 or 9 years old? And do you really still have the program, or is that a literary device?

A. It made a big impression on me. I had gone to quite a few Shaker games at that point in my life, but I had never seen the new gym that crowded. Or seen that many TV cameras there. In some ways, I think of "Sam Perkins Night" kinda like "Ron Guidry Night" at Heritage Park, some sort of Colonie cultural milestone from the 80's, albeit on a smalle scale. But the clincher was that I got Sam's autograph on the cover of my program, that's probably largely why i kept it. And since I kept it - I looked at it quite a bit. And that's probably helped keep the night fresh in my mind But if you want proof, here you go:

The autograph reads "Sam Perkins, #11 Dallas Mavs." I can remember thinking at the time that Sam was the talleste person on Earth. I wasn't nearly up to my dad's shoulder yet, and my dad wasn't nearly up to Sam's shoulder. He was tall.

I wonder what this would fetch on Ebay. Probably not that much, considering this SI only gets $10. Then again, there probably aren't 100 SPN programs left in the world, and this one is autographed. Although it would be 10 times sweeter if he signed it "Big Smooth."
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