It's taken a few weeks longer then I had anticipated or desired to make it to my first high school basketball game of the season but it was full of unexpected learning opportunities. As I've mentioned before, I come from a small school background. At most there are only a pair of athletic activities happening at the same time. That's usually only when one team is away and the other is occupying the home court.
Going through the Fall season that experience was matched by my experiences. Well tonight was a wake up call. I walked into the Moorhead High athletic complex thinking that Basketball would be the only activity on the docket. Boy was I wrong. The first thing I saw was some wrestling then has I navigated the halls I heard what I think was swimming. Those are on top of a Hockey match that was going on tonight, though maybe at the opponents house. After asking around I finally managed to find the basketball court.
When I checked the local calendar this morning it said that tip off was slated for 7:30. I was there 10 minutes ahead of that but as I walked in the teams were well into the second half. It confused me how the newspaper had gotten it so wrong until I asked a worker after the game why it had been moved up. Because of some of the snow storms we've had, they had to make up some previously canceled wrestling.
Where I come from, Basketball is king of the winter games. It would seem that it is at best a cohabitant atop the Moorhead High sports mountain and very likely a step or two below Hockey & Wrestling. That's not meant as a criticism, but seems to be a fact.
So that brings us to the game itself. When I walked in, the Spuds were up double digits and from what I could tell were in control of the flow of the game. The lead they had wasn't able to be defended and Bemidji was able to work back into the game and eventually win by a comfortable margin of their own.
Whether their propensity to foul, the officials being a little quick on the whistle or just succumbing to laxity with the lead they had led to the Spuds losing is not for me to say but each possibility seemed to play a role. When their second leading scorer fouled out with several minutes remaining, their ice coldness magnified. No matter how good of shots Moorhead managed to take, most of them clanged off the rim and were taken by the Lumberjacks who then converted more often then not.
Ultimately that was the recipe that lead to the second half defeat. One of the most important things about sports are the lessons that can be learned from them. Sure, I hope that each team is able to learn and improve from tonights contest but on court learning is dwarfed by lessons for life.
I got a reality check about how things can be in a big school. That's what I learned tonight. Hopefully the players learned things from the game that they can carry forward! This wasn't how I was expecting it to go, but there again is part of the lesson. Rolling with the unexpected and knowing how to handle it.
So congratulations to the Bemidji Lumberjacks and good luck to the Moorhead Spuds as your seasons continue! Take the lessons that the game affords to heart as sincerely as you can!