In case you missed it, over here in Clarkston, the boys basketball program won its first-ever state title. As I type, in my head with my inner ears I hear the band Queen singing softly, “We are the champions, we are the champions . . .”
Last Saturday, the Clarkston Wolves downed the Grand Rapids Christians, in a close game, 75-69.
I was mentioned in a social media post sometime after the game. Said former Sherman Publications, Inc. marketing dude, former Clarkston resident and full-time smarty-pants Jim Buckley. “Don Rush, headline should be ‘Wolves Eat Christians.’ Do it. We got your back.”
And, while I do not think that would be a good headline for the actual story, in my heart I knew it would be fun somewhere. Ever the follower and never a leader of any merit, I headlined my column at Jim’s request.
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As, Independence Township Stupervisor Pat Kittle recently told me, “Don . . . this is all about you . . . The center of the universe. The focal point where the earth spins on its axis. The sunshine of our lives.”
True, true, Patrick. An insecure personality type, I always try to put myself into the middle of anybody else’s good story or celebration. It just makes me feel better about myself. So, to horn-in and be a part of Coach Dan Fife and the Clarkston Cagers glory, without having done anything (save for typing now . . .)
. . . The last time your hero (that would be me) was on the old hardwood at CHS during a varsity basketball game had to be my senior year at that school. I was a sweaty mess, running up and down the court, diving into the mass of humanity that made up the crowd and in general showing off my “special” god-given skills for the cheerleaders.
Yes, I was a hot, flying and tumbling mess.
It was Steve Howe night, I remember. Steve, God rest his soul, was a pitching phenom at Clarkston, at the University of Michigan and later, I believe was 1980 Rookie of the Year when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Anyway, Steve was back home and he and his either soon-to-be wife or wife were in the crowd and were to be honored at the game.
I remember running up to him and giving him a “high-five” to which he looked at me kinda’ funny and only tentatively acquiesced. His palmed touched my hairy hand. My brush with greatness and — what? You’re wondering about my “hairy” hand? You don’t care about my exploits on the hardwood? Something doesn’t add up, you say? Oh yeah, gee. I must have forgot to tell you something about my life’s varsity basketball story.
I was the mascot.
I had on the “Wolf” costume and it was very hot in that thing. Do you know how much sweat builds up running up and down the side lines in a wolf costume? I don’t either, but I bet it was an awful lot. I shutter to think of how
I smelled — which may have explained why Steve Howe was horrified at my high five invitation.
I was so good at basketball and mascotting that I wasn’t even the starting mascot during varsity basketball games. Donny J. Mack had that honor. I was the ever-lovin’ backup mascot when Mack got sick or had to go on a date or get out of town. Yay, team. Hurray. Go. (I was always jealous of Donald J. Mack. He actually dated real, live girls during high school.)
So, I got that going for me. Don Rush, aka, Backup CHS Mascot.
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Back in the day, my basketball prowess was legendary at good ol’ CHS. I was the fire hydrant who planted himself just under the basket on defense willing to throw up elbows and deliver butt-bumps to any who dared near me. On offense, I pretty much sauntered down the court just in time to turn around and head back under the opposing team’s basket to deliver more butt power defense. As a basketball player I was a pretty damned good football lineman.
To this day, I still do not understand why I was always the last to be picked for a team.
Hmm? Go figure?
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At any rate, congrats to the Coach Fife and the boys. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts.