Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

I’m from Ohio. This is what growing up was like.

<rs before LeBron James broke the spirits of sports fans across northeast Ohio, he effectively ruined my 12-year-old dream of capturing the heart of the potential love of my life.

As an easily attached sixth grader, I spent an entire year pathetically pining over the point guard for the St. Vincent-St. Mary basketball team. He looked like the love child of Justin Timberlake and Chad Michael Murray, and he started and finished every game. In other words, he was perfect, and the idea of meeting him someday had relentlessly latched onto my brain. The problem, though, was not our age difference. The issue came simply in the matter of logistics, as it was nearly impossible to be within any kind of proximity to someone when the entire gym was flanked with security and news  cameras. To be honest with you, I never really cared that I was witnessing the alleged second coming of Christ. Akron, Ohio in the early 21st century was a hot bed for burgeoning athletic talent, and a sports phenomenon at the local high school couldn’t have interested me less. I liked boys, damn it, and I was far more concerned with catching glimpses of the dreamy point guard then fighting the local paparazzi for a chance to look at the Chosen One. I guess you can say that I had my priorities in order.

Tickets to a high school basketball game in those days were surprisingly hard to come by. It sounds ridiculous, but it was akin to scoring seats next to Jack Nicholson at Game Seven of a Lakers-Celtics final series. That means it was kind of hard. Of course I had a relative who was able to get tickets for my mom and me, so I made my way to the James A. Rhodes Arena on the University of Akron campus every Friday night for what was surely the most regarded high school basketball game in the nation.

One end of the arena was reserved especially for students and anyone else who wanted to pretend they were at a normal high school event. The end closest to the doors was for a more elite camp: big name lawyers, local celebrities, car dealership owners, retired area athletes, school administration and an array of wealthy fathers trying to impress their sports obsessed middle school sons. They all wanted to be the first to see the boy hero, the man-child, the next Michael Jordan; they were there to see LeBron.

I just didn’t see what the big deal was. I saw the guy every afternoon when we went to the high school to pick up my brother. I volunteered to get out of my dad’s pick-up truck and walk inside, rain or shine, in hopes of seeing my point guard. I’d even poke my head in the gym during basketball practice to try and create the eye contact that I knew would win him over. In my head, that was all I needed. But I never saw him. The flurry of flashy warm-up drills intimidated me far too much, and I would usually grab my brother and run back to the truck. Love is a battlefield, indeed.

If it had been a normal high school with normal players, I probably would have had far better luck with the whole point guard situation. That’s what I like to tell myself, anyway. On the bright side, he’s engaged to a girl who looks like me. That means something, right?

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