Junior Varsity...like Proust's madeleine, the words bring back memories. Mostly bad memories. Like having to guard Harry Beresford, who: a) was a varsity lineman on the football team; b) was determined to put the ball in the hoop without regard for maintaining an appropriate distance between one's elbow (or armpit) and the defender's face; and c) would sweat profusely (and malodorously). Or having to maintain a squat position while holding bricks above my head. But these are trivialities, with little consequence for my subsequent basketball career.
A lot of things happened between 1988 and 1989. Regan became an Ex-President. The Berlin Wall fell. Jack Nicholson terrorized us as the first artist to work in the medium of homicide. The world was introduced to the musical genius of Milli Vanilli, with the release of "Blame It On The Rain." Things were clearly changing for the better.
Yet basketball shorts lagged tragically behind the times, with dire consequences for my basketball career. During the 1988-1989 school year, I, due to a lifetime of maternal oppression in the realms of candy, sugar cereals, and miscellaneous junk food, made a habit of saving my lunch money and using it to purchase a Hostess apple pie (480 calories, 22 grams fat), a package of ding dongs (368 calories, 19 grams fat), and a box of Gobstoppers (400 calories). Instead of the corndog.
So, naturally or unnaturally, my thighs became Clintonesque. And, proud as I was to have made the JV squad (it should go without saying that this was based on my height alone), I was mortified about the prospect of my pasty, broad thighs being appraised by a female audience. I found that the best way to avoid exposure was to maintain a more or less seated position. My coach was happy to oblige me in this regard.
When the exigencies of the game (or, more likely, a democratic impulse) demanded my participation, I was forever tugging at my shorts instead of keeping my hands up on defense. I picked up a lot of offensive fouls and led the team (perhaps the league) in three second violations (to go along with my 0.5 ppg). All because of my shorts.
Eventually, I left the team, never to return to organized basketball. But then! Later that year, the hemline on the Fighting Illini final four uniforms made a noticeable advance toward the knee. There were subsequent (cough! Dook cough!) retreats waistward, but this territorial acquisition was finally solidified by Michigan's Fab 5 two years later.
Sadly, it was too late for me. I was the basketball version of the East Berliner who was caught attempting to escape days before the wall came down.
On the other hand, these guys are certain to come away with better memories of their JV experience.
But then, they don't have to wear nuthuggers, do they?
*Still, things might have been worse if the Edmonds Tigers had gone with what NC State was wearing at the time.