As soon as I stepped onto the newly renovated Falmouth Heights Basketball Court blacktop, I launched up a three only to watch my ball bounce off the front rim and roll down the embankment.
A smile formed and I laughed to myself, “There are some things in this world that can’t be fixed.”
Standing at the three point line alone my iPod was blaring something, but the only sound echoing in my head was my mother’s faint call from one street over, “Set…on. Din…ner!”
Had I just stepped out of a time machine?
I gazed through the plexiglass backboard and beyond the field, the British Beer Company and settled on Vineyard Sound. The ocean backdrop was always my preferred rim to shoot on. For me, basketball at the Heights Court was just like that same ocean- an escape from academics.
Memories of my youth began tumbling over me- Dad slashing to the basket for his “Hoosiers” style lay-up that always banked off the backboard and down the white mesh. My older brother Ted recreating Boston College’s Michael Adams falling out of bounds desperation shot. He never made the shot unless I bet him a dollar. The tricks older brothers do. And of course my countless hours spent emulating Larry Bird, heaving up shot after shot beyond the arc while one of our family Great Danes (Ophelia, Sinead, Max) ran leash-less and wild throughout Crescent Park.
I didn’t play organized basketball in high school, however my love for pick-up ball drew me to the Heights where locals battled each other or teamed up to teach summer people a lesson in “Cape Cod style.”
I could still hear the trash talk and laughs from some of the regulars, Big D, Nicky V, Sweets, Mike Andrews, Ricky Foster, Paul Larusso, Lenny “Hook” Cardoza, Ronnie Stone, Patty G, Oakie, and Tom Stalcup just to name a few. We all possessed a love for the game and the Heights Court was a place for us to run ball, laugh, and share a common bond.
As I got older, my passion for playing pick-up ball followed me everywhere giving me the opportunity to create friendships as far as Eureka, CA and Honolulu, HI., but my love for the sport was rooted right at the Heights where grass was out-of-bounds and knowing how to play the sea winds was a prerequisite.
I stepped off the court that day thankful that the court was back.
Let’s face it, we all know Thanksgiving isn’t just about the fat, juicy turkey drenched in Mom’s homemade gravy on the “good” family dinnerware.
Thanksgiving is a day of having gratitude or quite simply giving thanks for the things we take for granted. This year as I work off that meal while showing my little daughter how to dribble, I will be thankful for the people who made the Heights court renovations possible. Rocky Gomes, Jamie Woodward, Darren MacDonald and his crew at Clover Paving are just a few names I know of, but of course the Town of Falmouth.