Thursday, September 11, 2008

Basketball Politics

I've seen footage of Obama and he's not bad. He plays like a 40 year who hasn't played much in the past 10 years, but when he did, he had game. He beat Stuart Scott 1 on 1, for what that's worth.

Now, Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin's Wasilla High School girls basketball team was considered a Cinderella story when it won the 1982 Alaska state championship. "But we had been second in the state the year before," remembered Heyde Hackel, one of Palin's teammates, "so we never thought of ourselves as Cinderella." Considering the kind of girls we're talking about, athletes who ran stack plays and traveled Alaska in buses and airplanes and always qualified for the state tournament, that seems pretty obvious. Of all the things they were used to in sports, being underestimated wasn't one of them.

"I can't imagine where I'd be without the opportunities provided to me in sports. Sports taught me that gender isn't an issue; in fact, when people talk about me being the first female governor, I'm a little absent from that discussion, because I've never thought of gender as an issue. In sports, you learn self-discipline, healthy competition, to be gracious in victory and defeat, and the importance of being part of a team and understanding what part you play on that team. You all work together to reach a goal, and I think all of those factors come into play in my role as governor."

Palin didn't play basketball exclusively, said two of her Wasilla High teammates interviewed for this column. She ran the hurdles and relays on the track team, which Palin's father coached. She was a setter on the junior high volleyball team. She ran cross country and played softball in a summer league.

But basketball brought the most success, and Palin was a force on the court, said Hackel, Wasilla's 6-2 center. "She might not have showed up in the stats as far as rebounds and scoring, but that's because she was known for her defense and assists and real unselfish team play."
Even in junior high, the girls talked basketball and dreamed of glory days to come, said Jackie Conn, who shared backcourt duties with Palin.

"Back in eighth grade, Sarah and I were talking to a teacher during lunch hour and saying our 11th- and 12-grade years would be our best," Conn said. "The state championship was a highlight, but so was the time we spent together on the long bus rides or the airplane trips to some of our games. We had a lot of time together. But it was great because we were good friends and teammates. It was just a bunch of good girls having fun together playing sports."

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