Fifteen years ago, our high school Girls Varsity Basketball Team was Maine State Champs. That was a pretty big deal and continues to be a big deal since Marshwood has not won another state championship in any sport since that year. Ever.
That ’95 team shined like a copper penny in a Class B mason jar full of stiff competition and I was a dedicated copper penny collector. I clipped out every article of every game. I remember practically the entire school went to the Western Finals at the Civic Center and I was there with all my really hip friends and our obliging parents.
I was so excited for the game. After that night, after we’d won (by just one 3-point shot made in the last 2 seconds of the game by the girl you see in this image, Shelby Fontaine), I jumped between two cloud-nines: the cumulus nimbus of our small town and that of my own. You see, though I liked other sports, I ate, drank, slept, breathed, brushed my teeth with basketball. It was my very first love and it blessed me with so many great memories. I wasn’t a superstar. But I loved the way it made me feel. I didn’t know many of the girls on the Varsity team that year - Freshman didn‘t hang out with Seniors - period, but some of my favorite players became great friends and teammates in the years that followed. In fact, when it was my turn for say goodbye after my final Senior game, I called in sick, too devastated to come to terms with the fact that my basketball career was over and that I was just another kid walking the hallways. Oh, the drama of high school. Every emotion was positively on the verge...
Well, reason I bring alllll this up, is because last night the current Varsity team honored the Championship Team at halftime and I went to see all those girls from years ago. It was a special night. Thirteen women, some with new last names, with kids in tow, with different looks and different lives, all made their way onto center court and held that golden trophy once again. Seeing them standing there, the WIN felt like it was just yesterday. It wasn’t hard for me to replace the school gym with the enormous Civic center, or the standing ovation with the screaming crowd of 5,000 as Shelby hit the buzzer beater...or me, the gangly freshman girl all knees and elbows with her face painted standing next to the guy she really liked watching the team she desperately adored bring home the GLORY!
An hour later, a bunch of us were at Muddy River Smokehouse, drinking pints with the old players and the new coach and rehashing great games and great stories from the good ol’ days. I had a few great stories to contribute but mostly just listened and quietly took in the fantastic energy and happiness that surrounded us in the corner of that bar with plates of greasy beer-battered pickles and sud-studded pint glasses. It’s important to talk about the todays and tomorrows, but there is a special reverence for “Back Then” and we should all indulge in it every once in a while. I did. And it was l like no time had passed:)