Untotaled: Stepping 11 (January 20, 1965) The Cardington Rule … April 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog



Jimmy did all the scoring.

Matter of fact, when our seventh grade basketball team lost the previous week to Mt. Gilead, 32-26, Jimmy scored 24 of our points. The other two additional contributions were provided by our guard, Tom, who miraculously sunk two free throws.

So when Cardington arrived at our school on January 20th, they were fully aware that the only person they really needed to guard was Jimmy.

I was the starting forward but had not scored. I believe the coach had me in there for rebounding. It was not that I jumped really high to retrieve the ball, but rather that my circumference prevented other players from getting anywhere near the rim and the ball kind of just fell into my hands.

So in the first possession of the game, when Jimmy was being triple-teamed by Cardington and they knocked the ball away and it dribbled over to me in my left corner position, and I picked it up, I was nervous to the point of vomiting–and of course, very surprised.

But I looked up and there was my favorite shot. I always used the shot from the left corner baseline when I played Horse, to put somebody away. It was my preferred weapon.

I had lots of time. No one realized where the ball had gone. So I looked up, arched the ball in the air, and nearly wet my pants when it swished through.

The players looked over in shock–and those were my teammates.

I ran down the court to guard for the next series and before I knew it we were back in possession of the ball and I was in my left corner, unguarded again, but this time Jimmy threw it to me and I sank another basket.

Yes. I did three baskets in a row, plus got three foul shots. (For after all, they did eventually decide to send somebody over to distract me.) We weren’t even a minute and a half into the first quarter of the game and I had scored nine points.

The coach called a time out, more or less to allow me the opportunity to catch my breath from excitement, and everybody pounded me on the shoulders as we headed for the bench. I’ll never forget what he said.

“Cring’s hot. Get the ball to him.”

Glory be to God, I was hot.

So my team did try to get the ball to me. I missed a lay-up, fumbled a pass, was double-teamed, and therefore never scored another point.

But it did give Jimmy a chance to get free–and he scored thirty.

We won the game, 39-18.

After that I did not become our leading scorer. But I wasn’t afraid anymore. I put some points up in every game.

I know it sounds silly, but that day I experienced The Cardington Rule:

If you’re going to play the game, you’d better be prepared to make points.

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