Sitting among the spectators in the Carnduff school gym on Tuesday night it was incredibly obvious that something very special was happening. Three strands of story were coming together to create a sturdy net, catching our community in its fold. It was the “Feel the Heat” challenge, the Carnduff Fire Department playing against the CEC Sr. Boys basketball team, as the evening unfolded it became clear that we all won just by having the chance to be there.
The home team has a short history. For the first time in 20 years the Carnduff school has put together a seniors boys basketball team. With little experience, aside from a few members who have played with other teams, they came in as the underdogs in every league game. With unswerving enthusiasm, growing skill and good sportsmanship they tackled each game, however there was not a game victory to be had. This was the backstory for the home team part of the net being woven this night.
The guests on the court were men aged 19 to fifty something and one female firefighter. They are the men and woman we call in some of our most vulnerable moments, and they rise to the task with resolve and skill every time. They are a group who bring out deep feelings of gratitude and admiration from the community. On this night they rose to the challenge put before them and showed up to the game with smiles, easy going spirits, hard running efforts and a few unforgettable fashion statements.
The third strand of the story was this moment in time we are living. A community that has not had many opportunities to gather for fun in a long time was more than ready for what this night held. A hearty mix of things that are good for the soul was being caught up in that net. There was much laughter, delight, awe, and cheering that crossed team lines, all through the game. It felt good……very good, with the only obvious downside being the possibility of some sore muscles come morning. The audience that filled nearly every spare and safe spot in the gym had a great time.
So what happened? The boys basketball team ended their season with the taste of victory. They beat the firefighters, in a match that was never considered close in terms of score, but in terms of effort, the firemen really outdid themselves.
There were so many things that people might be talking about or posting to social media as they do the replay of what we saw and heard at this inaugural “feel the heat” challenge.
There will be much amusement in recollecting the uniform of fire chief Clint Paton. Decked out in a neon orange headband, black tights of some kind with knee length shorts overtop, neon orange socks and last but not least croc sandals, (in sports mode), he made a statement as soon as he entered the gym. We all cheered when Clint sunk a basket.
Those who love to see good basketball form will be delighting over the magic as Raf dribbled the ball, as if he was an elusive fly, always close but not stoppable, encountering every member of the firemans team within seconds it seemed, and moving right past them to get that ball one way or another into the key for CEC or the hands of a teammate .
In the crowd it was a remarkable night for a few reasons. Its not very often that spectators in the stands at CEC are heard yelling out, “you got this Dad!” That was the nature of much of the cheering and the signs seen. Before the game one of the CEC basketball team was told by his father “pay attention, cause when the ol’ guys get tired they are going to start playing dirty and rough.” It wasn’t far from the truth. It was a more aggressive game than usual and rules became quite flexible as time went on. In the last minute of the game the firemen had eight players on the court to CEC’s traditional 5. No one was offended. It was funny and seemed symbolic of their all in spirit for this game. The crowd was privy to a very relaxed approach to the art of basketball.
Here a few other great moments caught on film…..
Thinking back over what we experienced in the CEC gym on Tuesday night, it just doesn’t seem possible to say that anyone walked away having lost anything, we were all winners.