Front Porches and Basketball Hoops: Americana Lives

Bill Kauffman had a wonderful piece up last week on Hoosiers, the great, fictionalized account of the 1954 Milan (IN) High School basketball team’s state championship. Things haven’t been the same since the mid-Nineteen-nineties, when the tyrants at the IHSAA ended class-free basketball and instituted athletic socialism, but Indiana high school basketball is still “where it’s at.”

Mr. Kauffman will be happy to know something, I think. Late Friday afternoon, from a gas station in Cumberland, MD, I called the barber in North Judson (Yes, we have only one barber — and a few salons.), Ed, who graduated from North Judson-San Pierre (Hurray, consolidation!) High School in the 1990s. I hoped to find an opening in his Saturday morning schedule, because I haven’t had the hairs shortened since January. (I’m very loyal to my barber!) Ed informed me that he’s not open this Saturday: He’ll be in the gym of our high school, rooting on our Blue Jays as they compete in the tournament regionals for the first time since 1996.

“Most of town will be there,” he said to me.

I pulled into town about twelve-thirty a.m.; along State Road Thirty-nine, I saw numerous homemade signs supporting the young basketballers; in storefronts downtown, I saw more of the same.

If I can get myself out of bed in time, (A dubious hypothetical!), I might just be in the high school gym come ten o’clock.

Go Jays! Long live the real America.

Update 1: I slept too late, and didn’t attend the game, but the Blue Jay won game one. They play again tonight. The chances of my attending are much greater.

Update 2: I missed the night game, too. I’m lame like that. BUT THE BLUE JAYS ARE HEADING TO SEMI-STATE!

Update 3: I can hear the fire trucks’ sirens, as town celebrates. God I love small-town America.