Posts Tagged ‘PILLARDOME’

The W9 and Girls, Pt. 1: Friday Nights at the Pillardome

March 13, 2010 Leave a comment

When we were little, status was defined by how well we did with “The Girls.”

By “we” I mean “boys.”

By “The Girls” I mean “one girl.”

And by “well”. . . well the Woodside 9 didn’t really know.

The gym at St. Teresa’s was the eyesore of the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) circuit.  Having had its floor planks carelessly placed over a cavernous basement, it had dribbling dead spots everywhere on the court.  And having been constructed in a storage room that was never intended to host a basketball game, the St. Teresa’s gym had a fifteen foot basketball-blocking concrete ceiling and four massive pillars within sidelines that were in play.  To cover up this last defect, St. Teresa’s put up a crudely-made sign above the entrance that read: THE PILLARDOME.

In myself and Johan’s seventh and eighth years at St. Teresa’s (which were the sixth and seventh years for Patrick, Al, Tom and John Marino) the forum for meeting girls was the Pillardome on Friday nights.  This was because St. Teresa’s would host CYO basketball games and all of the girls from the neighborhood would come down to the gym to see the boys play.

Pat, Al and I, as well as Johan and John Marino, were never one of those boys.  (Tom Irwin was a different story, but let’s hope we don’t have time for that.)

It’s important to point out that the scoreboard at the Pillardome was in a place where no spectator could see it.  It was mounted above the concession stand on the spectator’s side.  The concession stand was so close to the court that people waiting to buy popcorn or soda were constantly stepping onto the court and interfering with the game.  The only place for a spectator to sit was at the sides of the concession stand behind the scoreboard.  The result of all of this was twofold: a spectator had to walk onto the court, around the pillars, to see what the score was (which Jim Magee Sr. would do whether or not it meant that he was wandering into a game), and that only the players, coaches and score keepers could see the board.

In a savvy move, Pat, Al and I volunteered to work the scoreboard.  This was actually three jobs.  One, obviously, the operation of the scoreboard.  Two, playing with college rules, the direction of the possession arrow.  Three, one of us would keep “the Book” which was a compilation of stats for the St. Teresa’s coach.  There would be three games every Friday night, the later games having the older kids.  With each game the three of us would rotate the duties.

By sitting there, we could not only see the scoreboard, but could also watch who was coming into the arena.  This was the real point.  Because despite what we might say now, in hindsight, each one of us was really there only to meet girls.  By “girls” I mean the people that we sat next to in elementary school every weekday from nine to three, and by “meet” . . . I don’t think we have figured that out even now.

So every Friday afternoon we would all meet at the Magee house.  We would put on our best clothes (which for me, was always the same red and blue rugby shirt) and douse ourselves with the only cologne we had: a blue bottle of POLO SPORT that we knew was our ticket to meeting girls.  And we would sit there, keeping score, trying to keep spectators off the court by yelling the score across the gym (read: my father), and amusing ourselves by doing play-by-play and commentary that only we could hear.  If Pat and Al had a game I would do all the roles.  If I had a game, one of them would pick up a second role.

I haven’t mentioned that all of us, except Tom Irwin (btw fuck you for that Tom), never got to play too much.  So when John Burnette, the point guard of the seventh grade team, stole the ball by the pillar closest to the concession stand, spotted a cherry-picking John Marino down court next to the basket, chucked the ball to him, and screamed “SHOOT JOHN!,” the crowd went nuts.

And so did the girls.


– Jim