Writer at Large

Writer at Large by Bob Karolevitz The little old lady went to confession, and for the 14th time she told about the sexual encounter she had eons ago.

But the priest said: �You�ve confessed that sin over and over again. Why do you bother me with that?�

And the LOL replied: �Well, I just like to talk about it, that�s all.�

I�m like that little old lady when basketball season starts again. I just like to talk about my one touch of Venus at South Dakota State College (now University) back in 1942-43.

That�s when we ran out on the floor of the aging Barn in our yellow jockey satin warmup suits, while a cacophony of cowbells greeted us as we represented our alma mater in still another game.

I�ll never forget it! The bedlam was awesome as we prepared to meet another foe in the long-ago quest for victory � so meaningful in our youthful days.

Thanks to the generosity of our coaches, I was a sophomore letter winner on that North Central Conference championship squad; and even if I wasn�t very good (I couldn�t jump high enough to touch the net), I like to talk about it. Lots!

A lousy memory is a wonderful thing, they tell me. It allows you to embellish the past when there�s no one around to refute you. For instance, Phyllis says I might have been a mediocre basketball player, but you�d never know it by my reminiscences.

Sure, we trounced the University Coyotes twice on the way to the conference crown; but I didn�t tell her that I got into the game when we were far enough ahead so that it didn�t make any difference if I screwed up.

I also didn�t give her the details of a near-riot in the USD Armory (now the Neuharth Media Center) during the second Coyote game. Someone stole a cowbell from one of the State fans (I think it was my roommate), and a melee ensued.

I can remember coming off the bench with the rest of the substitutes to join in the fray. The errant cowbell was returned, and the game went on after a truce of sorts was declared. I don�t recall engaging in any fisticuffs, though; but at least I was a gung-ho participant.

I forgot � on purpose � to tell Phyllis that I was called Swany then by some of the guys.

The hateful sobriquet came about in a freshman practice when I launched a one-handed toss from w-a-a-a-y out (it missed); and the coach chastised me by saying: �Karolevitz, you looked like a dying swan on that shot.�

Anyhow, I like to talk about the good things that happened to us: like the narrow defeats at the Universities of Minnesota and Iowa; and how we took it out on Cornell College on the way home from Iowa City. We also beat Gustavus Adolphus twice in non-conference games; and how we edged the North Dakota Sioux for the title.

Most of us went into the service after that (our center was too tall), but we remembered that basketball season � even now when it�s more than 60 years ago.

Like the little old lady and her sexual tryst, I often talk about those glory days on the court, too. Of course, Phyllis lends a deaf ear to my chattering. After all, she�s heard most of it before � over and over again.

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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