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From the Bleachers: The Harlem Globetrotters


This has been a particularly dreary January and I was more than ready to have some fun. I believe I read that we’ve only had five days of sun this entire month. I really needed something to lift me out of my doldrums. Fortunately, my daughter and her family came to the rescue by inviting me to join them in Michigan City to see the Harlem Globetrotters.

As game day approached, I began to do a little research. Did you realize the Globetrotters originated in the south side of Chicago in 1926 and were called the Chicago GlobeTrotters? In 1928, they became the New York Harlem Globetrotters and since 1929 they have been known simply as the Harlem Globetrotters. I was fascinated to read that the team didn’t play one game in Harlem until 1968. Before the rise of the NBA, the Globetrotters would play in large arenas like the Chicago Stadium. They have adjusted with the times and this year will play in 250 cities in North America along with 30 countries worldwide. At least four Globetrotters, including Wilt Chamberlain, went on to play in the NBA. The first female, Olympian Lynette Woodard, joined the team in 1985. Baseball hall of farmers Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, and Bob Gibson also played at various times. That’s enough about the history, let’s move on to Michigan City High School, Tuesday, Jan. 24.


I arrived at my daughter’s house and, after some initial negotiations, was delighted to find out that the whole family was going to the game. There was some heavy interest in the New Buffalo High School and La Lumiere Schools basketball games, but in the end, everyone decided to go see the Globetrotters and no one came away disappointed. The entire family, from six months to 69 years, had a lot of fun. The Globetrotters are much more than just a basketball team. I think the part of their game I enjoyed the most was their inclusion of the kids, both young and old. Even before the team started their famous circle to begin the game, the players had the crowd participating. As I looked around the gymnasium, I saw miles and miles of smiles. Everyone was having fun.

Some of the stunts, like throwing a bucket of water (that turns out to be confetti) into the crowd, have been going on for years. The team has added a few new wrinkles to their game. Their opponent is no longer the Washington Generals; they are now the World All Stars. The All Stars feature a giant of a man called Cager. He is almost 8 feet tall and can dunk a basketball without hardly leaving the floor. The game features a four-point line that’s 30 feet from the basket. One of the Globetrotters played defense by pulling himself on top of the basket, then sitting there, catching the all-stars shots and turning them into fast break opportunities. While the game is all about having fun, these guys have mad skills. I believe everyone was smiling and whistling Sweet Georgia Brown as they left the gym. I know I was.

Randy Pausch said, “ Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” Be careful out there. Make good choices. Keep smiling. Talk to you next week. Peace, love, and happiness.