Historic Basketball

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edgecliff hall
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Historic Basketball

Postby edgecliff hall » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:55 am

In the Spring of 1921, my Dad, Earl Grissmer played on the Anderson Indiana High School Basketball Team as it went up against defending champ Franklin in that year's Championship Game. "I got lucky," my Dad told me, "Made a few baskets." It was not enough. Franklin went on to win it's second State Championship, in a string of three, 35 to 22. In researching this game I discovered that Guards in that day were really defense specialists. When your team went on offense, you left one of your Guards behind, actually guarding your own basket. Like a Goalie in hockey. So then the team on the attack was going to be one man short as it went up against a defending five. Low scores the result.
On a quiet Sunday in 1944, my Dad and I visited the gym of Saint Mary's High School in Anderson. We had a new basketball with us.
We played around under the basket. He showed me how he used to dribble, strong movement, back to the defender. He showed me what today we call the three pointer. Hands on the ball, firm grip at 10 and 2 O' Clock. Knees bent, push off. Swish. He did not like that new fangled one handed shot. "Coach always said, "Put an arch on it."
Finally he showed me something I had never seen before after watching a lot of Indiana High School Basketball. My Dad said; "This is how we used to move the ball around." And he passed the ball to me in a way that was fun and exciting. I tried it going back to him, and found that it felt natural. "We used to that pass that way all the time," he said. "I wonder why they don't use it today?"
What he had shown me was a bounce pass.
nickgyp
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby nickgyp » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:46 am

Thanks for sharing, Edgecliff. Years ago, I was visiting my mother's childhood home in Urbana, Ohio where my two uncles still lived. Much had not changed in some parts of the house and I ventured into one room and located a pair of canvas Converse gym shoes that looked like the ones I used to sell at Ben's Department Store when I was in high school. This pair looked in remarkably good condition. Both of my uncles were up in years so this pair couldn't possibly have belonged to either one of them. Then I learned that the pair belonged to my Uncle Ed who starred at St. Mary's High School back in the thirties/forties. He was good enough to have been offered by Notre Dame but with the war looming, he ended up in the Army as did most young men.

He survived both D=Day and the Battle of the Bulge and returned home for a career in the Post office. Uncle Ed never talked much about his service or his outstanding high school basketball career. I can only imagine how different basketball was back in those days. Imagine guards being primarily guards! Despite the evolution of basketball over the years, when I saw those canvas Chuck high tops with the Star on the side and the familiar tread pattern on the bottoms, I smiled. These Chucks were the standard white canvas gyms exactly like the ones so many of us wore years later. The colored Chucks I sold would only come decades later.
edgecliff hall
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby edgecliff hall » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:50 am

Nice to hear from you, nickgyp. There was a question I nearly put in my big post, but it was getting too long. So here it is: Was there ever a rule against the bounce pass? In the thirties or fourties? Which might explain why I had never seen one when I was a kid.
As for your Uncle Ed. What was his last name? I'll consult some of my old Saint Mary's yearbooks. As for that generation that went to war.
I remember them well with a heavy heart. From Anderson there were boys from the Broadrick family, my Dad's uncle's family. At least one of them failed to return. From my wife's family, the Vollmar's of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, her brother Bob went up against a German Tank in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. Bob was 19, had joined the Army as a volunteer. I wish I could have known him. He wanted to be a writer.
nickgyp
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby nickgyp » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:29 pm

edgecliff hall wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:50 am
Nice to hear from you, nickgyp. There was a question I nearly put in my big post, but it was getting too long. So here it is: Was there ever a rule against the bounce pass? In the thirties or fourties? Which might explain why I had never seen one when I was a kid.
As for your Uncle Ed. What was his last name? I'll consult some of my old Saint Mary's yearbooks. As for that generation that went to war.
I remember them well with a heavy heart. From Anderson there were boys from the Broadrick family, my Dad's uncle's family. At least one of them failed to return. From my wife's family, the Vollmar's of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, her brother Bob went up against a German Tank in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. Bob was 19, had joined the Army as a volunteer. I wish I could have known him. He wanted to be a writer.

Wikipedia makes no mention of the bounce pass being illegal, Edgecliff. As for my uncle, his last name was Casey and another brother, Joe Casey, served in the Pacific in World War II before going on to be a teacher in high school in Winchester, Indiana. I understand he was a pretty fair athlete in high school. I believe in golf and/or tennis. A third brother, John, suffered a leg condition that kept him from athletic endeavors and the service. My father served in the OSS in France after playing freshman football at Xavier.

Truly, the Greatest Generation. Film footage of D-Day is astounding with what the pure hell that the day had to have been. Uncle Ed only talked about his war experience in his latter years and I can recall him saying how hard it was to enter the waters off-shore carrying 50-60 lbs. of gear. Some guys couldn't really swim and never made it. He also said something that I will never forget. "So many people had said they were behind us." With the bullets raining down on the GIs, he said, "I look behind us and nobody but the other soldiers were there." Most of these soldiers were just kids. How scared and alone they must have felt. God bless the few WWII veterans who are still with us; and surely God's loving mercy has been bestowed on those who never made it home. As for my Uncle Ed, I understand that pursuing basketball after he returned home was never really an option. My dad returned and finished getting his degree in English from Xavier. He never played football again.


Young lives interrupted and changed forever. Their courage, perseverance and sacrifice in face of a menace far more dangerous than what we face today is and always will be an inspiration.
edgecliff hall
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby edgecliff hall » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:47 pm

Yes, some sad stories from D-Day. Did your Dad ever write about his war experience?
nickgyp
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby nickgyp » Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:21 am

No, Dad never wrote a book about his experiences. Only stories told and family letters and the like. One letter recently surfaced that he had written to his niece (a first cousin of mine) from Madison, Wisconsin where soldiers going into the OSS trained. He was happy to have the opportunity to train with the OSS because it looked less likely to be in actual combat. Nonetheless, his four page letter contained words about training that not only had them training in gear but also prepping for duty with marches that took them through swollen streams that challenged even the best of swimmers of which my dad was one. Said they almost lost a guy or two. Sounded pretty harrowing. He always remarked that even though he was pretty much safe while overseas, the sounds of artillery blasts were constant.

Again, I can only think of the courage it took for these young men and women. Many a young person with entire lives ahead of them. Then Korea with its sub-zero temperatures; Vietnam with its muddy deltas; the Middle East and Afghanistan. Kudos to all those who have served!
edgecliff hall
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby edgecliff hall » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:30 pm

I join with you, nickgyp, in your feelings of love and respect. Bless them all.
basket
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby basket » Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:49 am

This may have been THE best thread I have ever read on this board! As a history teacher I love LISTENING and learning about our nations past esp. for those who witnessed history!! That is just one of MANY reasons why I miss my grandparents so much!! As my grandparents would be your parents. Thanks for sharing your history!!
norwood44
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby norwood44 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:11 am

Although this started as a basketball discussion, it has evolved into military experience. I was fortunate to attend Army Ranger school and successfully graduated (in the school's term, I was tabbed). This was by far the best school I had ever attended. When my 2 sons were preparing to attend Ranger School, I gave them the following advise that got me through the training: "They are not intentionally trying to kill you" and "If the guy on my right could keep going, and the guy on my left could keep going, then I could keep going."
nickgyp
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Re: Historic Basketball

Postby nickgyp » Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:40 pm

basket wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:49 am
This may have been THE best thread I have ever read on this board! As a history teacher I love LISTENING and learning about our nations past esp. for those who witnessed history!! That is just one of MANY reasons why I miss my grandparents so much!! As my grandparents would be your parents. Thanks for sharing your history!!
I regret not having spent much time with my dad discussing his service in the OSS. But I guess that is bound to happen when you are one of 10 kids of a man who spent a lot of time on the road selling pharmaceuticals and medical supplies providing for mom and all my siblings. The sacrifices certainly did not end after World War II. I am blessed by his example.

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