|My dad at 18 years old|
He stopped by today and we had a few minutes to chat without any kids around. (I know, hard to believe, isn't it!) While we were sitting across from each other, I noticed a lump on his elbow that I had never seen before. That's when he told me he broke his elbow... 60 years ago!!
Oh, but the story gets better.
My dad played high school basketball. He was a forward on a team with the two best shooting guards in the division. His coach liked their stats so he just asked the big guys to feed them the balls so their numbers would climb higher and higher. So Dad came out of high school thinking he was a mediocre player.
Right out of school he joined the army and was sent to the San Francisco Bay area for training. One day he noticed a sign on the bulletin board announcing intramural basketball team tryouts. He didn't know how competitive it would be, but he decided to give it a try. I probably don't need to tell you that he made the team and earned a starting position. His group played ball with all the other groups in the area until eventually the announcement came that an All-Star team would be chosen with a player from each group.
Once again he was selected to join this elite group. His new All-Star team was playing all over the Bay Area, with the Marines, the Navy, jr. colleges... Dad finally discovered that he was a good player and he could have been even better in high school if he had been given the chance. After one particular game he was approached by the head coach of Oakland Jr. College who asked him to join his team after he finished his stint in the army. He even offered him a scholarship!
Back to the broken elbow. Dad smashed into someone on a lay-up and broke a large piece of bone off his elbow. He had an experimental surgery that grafted the bone back in. They attached his arm to a pulley that went up over his bed and held his arm suspended at a 90-degree angle for 3 months. If they had put it down or in a sling he might never have had the use of it again.
The surgery worked! I never noticed before that his arm is slightly crooked, but he has almost a full-range of motion. Dad went back home and played basketball for Snow College for two years after that with a 21-point average/game (and that was before the days of 3-point shots). He met my mom his sophomore year and they got married and moved to Logan where Dad switched sports and played shortstop on the baseball team.
Of these facts I learned today, I only knew that Dad played ball for his high school team and then at Snow. How could he have done such awesome things and I never had any idea? At least it solves one mystery... there's definitely a reason I love sports!!