This Week in Lincolnville: Learning to appreciate basketball

Sun, 02/11/2024 - 6:45pm

    I am not a particularly athletic person. If it involves coordination, I am not your man. The only sport I played as a kid was soccer, from grades 5 to 9, when I recognized that I would be a bench warmer for my high school career. I joined cross country- I was a very slow runner, but at least I would get to participate. Besides, the cross country teams (running and skiing) were coed. Taking a bus to a far away meet with mixed genders is a very different experience than what I recall from the year I spent on the high school soccer team. A bit more civilized.

    So I did participate in school sports, with coaches Charlie and Penny Crockett (running) and David Ridley (skiing), to absolutely no acclaim. But I had fun.

    I used to watch football and baseball, reluctantly, with my dad. Allegedly, my dad was a decent ball player as a kid, something he did not pass down to his sons. One sport I never understood was basketball. And if there is one sport my uncoordinated self was useless at, it was basketball. To this day, my attempts to shoot hoops in the driveway with my kids is humiliating.

    So imagine my surprise when, three years ago, my middle boy announced that he wanted to join the middle school basketball team.

    So midwinter became dominated by basketball. 

    I watched my son grow from the kid who had no idea what he was doing on the court to a respectable substitute player, who clearly loves the game. And I watched the other players, as the team shaped up to be the dominant middle school team in the “Small School Busline League” that they were in the 2023-2024 season.

    Is there anything more small town than rallying behind your school’s team? Every game that I could attend, it was the same group of parents and grandparents. Parents together or long separated, with new partners, but all gathered together to cheer on their kids. The kids who shined every game, sinking basket after basket, and the kids who may spend most of the game on the bench. I witnessed the camaraderie of the parents reflect the support the LCS teams have for each other, irrespective of ability.

    Small town sports in this area is particularly interesting, given that many of their rivals on local teams will end up together in high school. I am not sure if my son will continue basketball in high school, but it is interesting to see which players in Hope, Appleton, even St George, will add to the power of next year’s Camden Hills Regional High School Freshman basketball teams.

    This year was Lincolnville’s year. I’d watched the boys team grow over the last couple seasons, and had little doubt that they were ready to show what Lincolnville can do. Similarly, the girls’ team had grown to be a powerhouse.

    Lincolnville’s boys team was coached by Doug Mott, with assistant coach Kenny Corson. The girls were led by Coach Ryan Leadbetter, with assistant coaches Jared Harbaugh and Mara Dostie. Heading into the final Saturday, February 10, both teams were undefeated.

    Saturday mornings match was against Boothbay- who’s boys and girls teams had similarly dominated the southern half of the Small School Busline League. The teams had never met, so no one was sure what to expect.

    The final was held at Wiscasset Middle High School, and a large contingent of Lincolnville fans made the trek Saturday morning. And they were intense games. After the girls team went down in a tough loss to be runner up champions, the boys team played hard, and ended up victorious. 

    I was in the stands with the teams’ bus driver, my old friend and LCS alumnus, Ben Hazen. In between complaining about just how bad his bus was going to stink on the drive home with a load of sweaty adolescents, he contacted his buddies at the Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Department. The LCS bus would be met at the Megunticook boat launch by three fire trucks, who would provide an escort back to the school.

    I staked out a spot at the Lincolnville Library to witness this impromptu parade- the trucks with lights flashing and sirens blaring, a yellow school bus full of cheering middle school athletes, and car after car of proud parents. 

    Goshdarnit, I love this town.

    I will miss hanging out with the other parents at games. Many of the players are headed off to high school next fall, and whole new adventures. But I can finally say I have a rudimentary understanding of and appreciation for this game. And who knows- my youngest has taken to shooting hoops in the driveway, and I may just find myself sitting in the bleachers at the LCS gym next year.

    So congratulations to the Lincolnville teams, and thank you Lincolnville for supporting them. And maybe by next year, we can fundraise for some new uniforms- the ones we got are looking a bit worse for wear…


    Sympathy

    Tom Christie, postmaster at the Beach throughout the 1980s, has passed. Love to his family. Obituaries are sad, but also so inspiring, as they so often sum up a wonderful life well lived. I had no idea, when Ma passed this column to me a year ago, that I would become such a fan of a well written obituary. We only have a very short time here, and if what you leave is memories of being a good person, of loving and being loved, well done.


    Alright, my little town. Apparently there is another sportsball game to watch today. I will be making snacks and listening to my wife yell at the TV. Be good and do good. Reach out at ceobrien246@gmail.com.


    CALENDAR

    Monday, February 12

    Land Use Committee, 4 p.m., Town Office

    Select Board, 6 p.m., Town Office


    Tuesday, February 13

    Library open 3-6 p.m. 208 Main Street

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Heart and Soul Team, 12 p.m. Lincolnville Community Library

    Wage and Personnel Policy Board, 4:30 p,m., Town Office

    Town Budget Workshop, 6 p.m., Town Office


    Wednesday, February 14

    Library open 2-5 p.m. 


    Thursday, February 15

    Town Budget Workshop, 6 p.m., Town Office


    Friday, February 16

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street


    Saturday, February 17

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street


    Sunday, February 18

    United Christian Church, 9:30 a.m. Worship, 18 Searsmont Road

    Bayshore Baptist Church, 9:30 a.m. Sunday School, 11:00 a.m. worship, 2648 Atlantic Highway