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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

Girmindl's Ghost, A Tale of Two Teams: Pictured below, Shaker's '79-80 basketball team (left) and Shaker's '05-06 basketball team (right).

I don't know why I didn't compose my final essay for this blog a month ago. I had it all set in my head - a recap of the season's highs and lows, a quick retelling of some of the best stories about the crowds, gyms, and concession stands, and then a wrap-up comparison of the '79-80 team and the '05-06 team.

But i just never sat down and wrote it. At first I thought it was because I was still miffed about the end of the season. And then I kept telling my self it was because I needed some time to get perspective on things. And then I pretended for a few weeks that it was because I was seriously considering writing a book of all this.

And then it was because I was lazy.

Or burnt out on it.

Or whatever.

Mostly, though, I think it's because I don't like writing about things that are sad. It's hard enough to write about losing basketball games - be it the AP game or the Suburban championship game. And I found it almost impossible to write about the end of the line for the '79-80 team - I have something like 10 hours of interview tapes that I've never done anything with because it's just too depressing. But the hardest of all was to sit down and close the book on this year's team. I just couldn't do it, and I didn't know why.

I got an email from Frank Hart '92, one of the stars of Shaker's last sectional title team, a few days after the Albany game. Here's part of it:
It's always sad to see a season come to an end, regardless of a team's record. Oftentimes this is not a matter of whether or not you won a title, or lost in the first round of Sectionals. It's more a matter of knowing that you will never sit in the locker room with the same 15 guys again. This can be very humbling.
And, honestly, I think that's what happened to me. I've watched hundreds of Shaker basketball games over the last quarter century. And I've died a fan's death dozens of times in those bleachers in H-gym. And I would have told you back in November that I couldn't imagine caring more about a sports team than I cared about Shaker basketball. But I would have been wrong.

Because unlike the past two dozens seasons, the thing that kills me most about this season is that we'll never see those 12 guys on the court together again. Humbling, indeed.

So I'm not going try to recap anything here. If you'd like to review the season, I recommend reading through the blog from start to finish. I did that this morning, and it was an exhilerating experience - it captures the emotional dynamics of the season far better than any retrospective piece of writing could hope. And it already got me excited for next year.

So come find me in the bleachers in December. I usually sit in the 10th or 12 row behind the Shaker bench. I've got a great connection for some free Twix. And you know me - I'm always up for telling stories about the great Shaker teams of the past, be it 1979, 1980, or 1992.

And yeah, 2006.
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