For the past three or four years I have been asked to play in a charity basketball game called Hardwood Heroes. The game pins some well known people in this community, the “celebrity” team, against the athletes of the Scioto County Special Olympics. The goal of the game for the celebrity team is not to win, but to have a good time and make sure the athletes get to show off their ability to family, friends and those in attendance. The event also serves as one of the biggest fundraisers for the Special Olympics team as they travel throughout the year.
Every year I play, I progressively get worse with my own basketball ability … or lack thereof. The first year I played I scored 12 points and this year I did not score at all. At one point in the game, in an effort to show off my ability, while both teams were at the other end of the court playing, I grabbed a ball and started shooting on the open end of the court. After a few failed attempts one of the athletes came up to me and said that was not allowed and proceeded to fire me from the game. It was all I could do to keep from laughing because she fired me with such seriousness and determination. At that point I proceeded off the court and to the bench.
In the end the final score was 102 to 61, but that did not matter to those in attendance. What mattered were the Special Olympics athletes were able to show off their ability against the celebrity team to their friends and loved ones. Occasionally, throughout year I will bump into one of the athletes and they will brag on how bad they beat us and say how much they are looking forward to the next year’s game.
Despite my inability to be effective in a game of basketball, I too am looking forward next year’s game, because for a short time we are all hardwood heroes.