Weekend Games

St. Paul's Flames take the court.
(dwm photo)
Eventually, if St. Paul Lutheran School in Janesville continues its annual basketball tournament... I won't be able to say I was there for the first and the last one.

45 editions later, I can say I was there for the first 8 team contest and there yesterday for a couple of games in the latest edition.

On the court, one of St. Paul's players is the grandson of my science teacher when I was a student.

The team from Pilgrim Lutheran in Green Bay is coached by the son of man who coached the 9th grade Flames team for which I mostly sat on the bench.

Who's getting old here anyway?

Sitting in front of me was a mom of one of St. Paul's players; she was two years behind my sister's class.

The dance team from Trinity Roselle used a very popular song from my freshman year in college... 35 years ago.

The Flames left it all on the court in their tussle with the Tigers.
Big crowd on hand.

The eight man squad lead at the half by one.  Their shots didn't fall in the second half and it seemed like a combination of fatigue and a strong opponent was too much in this game.

The L.W. Gersmehl gymnasium was full and rocking Saturday afternoon.  Mr. Gersmehl was my sixth grade teacher who served the school for decades in a variety of capacities, including coach.

Agony of defeat.
(dwm photo)
The JLIT (Janesville Lutheran Invitation Tournament) was a part of our family for years.  I was in third grade when it began.  Our family hosted two or three cheerleaders for years.

Many years later, with a family of my own, we hosted a couple players when we were back in Janesville for three years.

Jump forward twenty - four years and the annual tradition became part of my life again.

The event has moved ahead in many ways - evidenced by the player introductions for the Flames which includes a black-out, lasers, and a spotlight.

Go Flames!
(dwm photo)
The friendly, personal touch felt in the school and church during the event is the same now as the day it started.

A couple thoughts about the games:
* I'd eliminate the three point line for games below the high school level, or coach for higher percentage shots.  There were many airballs and horrible misses throughout the day.
* I love the 6 minute quarters.  The game moves fast, keeping fans in the game too.

I'd like to see my school win, but it's fun watching the teams play; handle adversity; and shake hands after the game.

It's important, but not life or death.  These games feel like they are kept in perspective.

While I don't remember, I'm pretty sure that's what Mr. Ebeling and the other original organizers of the JLIT had in mind.