Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Give me the damn ball!

Those words from Keyshawn Johnson echo almost every thought from every player of every sport. When we were little, we dreamed of throwing or catching the winning pass, running in the winning touchdown, striking out the final batter or sinking the winning basket. Deep down, we want the ball. Some of us are better when we are put in that situation -- think Michael Jordan. Some of us are good enough to get to the game, but collapse under the pressure -- think maybe the 2007 Mets. And the rest of us? Well, we become fans.

Why am I bringing this up? Because my good friend Jane pointed me to an article about the Ten Sleep Five.

Ten Sleep is a small town in Wyoming. Their girls basketball team has exactly five players. Everyone of those young ladies gets the ball. Every minute of every game.

They play sick, they play tired, they play hurt, they play no matter what.

The last few months have been far from easy, according to head coach Dave Egger. Anja jams a finger and needs it taped. The only opportunity is while her teammate is shooting free throws. Quickly hurrying to the sideline, she gets her finger taped just in time to jump back in as the ball is in-bounded.

They agree their most memorable moment of the season came in January when they hosted the Meeteetse Lady Longhorns. With nearly three minutes to go, Sarah, Aimee and Anja all fouled out, leaving just the two seniors to fend off the starting five of Meeteetse. Not only did the Ten Sleep Five get the win, but they didn't give up a single point in the final minutes.

Now that's a reason to watch a basketball game.

Every person in the state of Wyoming should be cheering these women on. If Casper weren't so dang far away, I'd be making a road trip.

Click the link and go read the rest of the article. And then hope that a better writer than I sells the story to Hollywood and uses the proceeds to pay the college tuition of each team member.

With the fiascoes surrounding less-than-stellar off-field behavior by NFL players and the steroid investigation in MLB and the Roger Clemens trial, this is a sports story worth reading.

This is more than sports . . . this oughta bring a tear to your eye.

Now, where can I get a Ten Sleep Five t-shirt?


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