Small Town Maine Backyard Basketball

As a teenager from the small town of Derby, Maine, backyard basketball was another favorite passtime. A high school friend who lived on Ferry Road was tall and lanky just like me, yet his talent for the long shot was legendary. At times when there weren’t enough youngsters to have 4 on 4 teams or larger, 1 on 1 skill contests were the next best thing.

Our version of the game horse involved matching shots with added difficulty levels like behind the back or shooting for a basket from under a raised leg. Shots made had to be matched, and the loser was the first to miss 5. Each miss picked up a letter to keep track of the score by spelling h-o-r-s-e, and you’d lose on the letter “e”. Match a challenge shot, and you invented the next one.

This lanky rascal would attempt shots equal to the length of the NBA full court. He would lift off one leg for propulsion and was probably 50% accurate on making these outrageous shots. At times the same feat would be done with his back to the basketball net. Another was made standing on the other side of his house, over the roof without seeing the basketball hoop, and “swish” right in! Too bad NBA scouts didn’t come to Derby more often. As I recall it was actually never.

Jim's handwritten signature

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