After watching my Wizards lose a disappointing and deflating game on a last second 30 foot shot to a poor Knicks team, I needed a basketball pick me up. Fortunately, my son was scheduled to be in the special olympics skills competition at Chopticon High School the very next day. Directions to Chopticon: go until you think you can't go any further, then take a right and go 3 more miles.
Anyway, if you've ever attended a special olympics, there is far more waiting than competition. But while waiting I got to see an excellent 5 on 5 game between Prince Georges County and St. Mary's County. The Prince Georges team featured 2 kids from my son's aftercare program. These games are quite a site. Players range from 11 year old kids who are barely 4 and a half feet tall to 6 foot guys with beards. Both genders are represented. Prince Georges had 2 tall guys with some skills while St. Mary's had a very young, very short player(#55) who played like Allen Iverson but with a better outside shot. There were behind the back dribbles and crossovers. Because this was the Special Olympics, the referees were a bit lenient with travelling and carrying the ball calls. They were more lenient that college ball but not quite as lenient as the NBA. I saw several good plays, very little ball hogging and a wonderful outlet pass that led to an easy layup. As is the case in most pickup games, the taller team eventually wore down the smaller St. Mary's crew. PG won 37-32. Poor number 55 was in tears on the bench after the loss. However, he was back out for another game half an hour later. I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I exchanged impressions of the players (all positive) with the guy in the neighboring seat. I barely criticized the officiating and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of play.
Finally, 4 and a half hours after we arrived, my son Kevin got to do his skills drill. He did fine. Tied for first in his 3 person heat and took home a gold medal. Far more impressive was his patience and good behaviour while waiting. Like any 14 year old, when he's with his group, he does NOT want his parents around. So I had to sit separately. He did allow me to bring him a hot dog though. Anyway, he did great and I only did ok.