Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge

Before my post about the coaching staff, a quick note about today’s charity event that the Sea Dogs front office staff participated in…

My cozy and safe view from the bench

The fact that I am writing at the moment means the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge was a success!  Let me first tell you how we define success:  punctual arrival, no tears, no blood, no injuries, minimal pouting and free stuff at the end.  The Sea Dogs team accomplished all of these agenda items at USM’s Gorham campus.  An all-star team of Courtney Rague, Brayton Chase, Brian Murphy, Tim Miller and yours truly laced up our bball shoes or the cleanest shoes we could find to swish (or clang!) out some childhood cancer.  Our friends at the Maine Credit Union League put on the 3 on 3 tournament with all proceeds going to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.  This 3 on 3 event first began in 1994 and to date has raised over $200K for MCCP.  That amount is equal parts astonishing and inspiring, and makes me feel bad for grumbling when I woke up this morning.  When we arrived for our 8am game (8 AM!), I couldn’t believe how many people were there as players and spectators.   In addition to having a sold out number of teams competing in 3 v 3 games, they also had baked goods for sale and numerous silent auction prizes up for bid.  If I hadn’t been hanging by the baked goods table when we weren’t playing, I could tell you more about what kind of silent auction items they had but sorry, I only can tell you that they had excellent brownies.

So, the first game was at 8am.  (8 AM!) The rules were pretty simple, other than the other regular basketball rules (no whining, this is out of bounds, call your own fouls, etc.) they also required at least one girl be on the court at all times.  Thank goodness Courtney was there.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Courtney was our five tool player of the tournament. (Passing, Shooting, Dribbling, Defense, Personality)  Tim and Brayton will be annoyed by this but it’s true.  She could pass, she could shoot, she wasn’t afraid to go to the basket and she was a pest on defense.  I think she might have even been the leading scorer.  Anyways, it didn’t matter.  Being the leading scorer on our team today was like being the best swimmer in a shark tank.  Our first contest was a close game, until it wasn’t, and then we lost.  It was, however, a valiant effort, and one I was proud to be a part of.  We played with class and style.  We were just out matched by a few things, namely height.  This team was tall! You can’t teach that.  Tallest player on our team might have been 5’11”, and if he told you that he was probably lying.  Once we lost this game we waited about an hour where we chatted with our adoring fans (my parents, Geoff, Jim and his son).  Our second game started earlier than they even told us.  After 18 years of running this tournament, they (MCCP, Maine Credit Union League) know how to run a tight ship, which was great. I thought, “we might be home before lunch! which is always a bonus.

The second team we played looked a little familiar, and after staring at them for an uncomfortable amount of time (for them) I realized that two of them were the Cheverus girls from the 3-Points for Strive contest.  Just great.  We go from facing a team of red woods to a team of 3-point shooters.  In spite of their impressive performance at the Expo, we played this team extremely tough.   It was an evenly matched contest and one that was efficiently and fairly run by court monitor and former voice of the Sea Dogs, Andy Young.   The scoring went back and forth.  Well, first, the missing went back and forth.  Both teams came out ice cold.  I think when I subbed in it was 3-4, and we had been playing for about 10 minutes.  (Each game only lasted 15).  Soon enough (when I subbed back out) the teams found their rhythm again, and the scoring picked up.  I will spare you the play by play, because I’m not very good at that, but I will tell you that I scored from the post and event blocked a shot.  The blocked shot happened accidentally.  The girl was going up for a lay up and I just closed my eyes, threw my arms up in the air and hoped I didn’t hurt myself or my pride.  I was shocked as her shot grazed off my index finger.  A lot of other good stuff happened too…more baskets made, rebounds snagged (see…can’t do basketball play by play).  The game went into overtime, and then double over time!  The drama!  And then the Cheverus shooting killed us.  Giving Courtney a much needed respite I subbed back in and the opposing Cheverus girl scored two baskets in a row, right in my face, and we lost.  It was a fun match up though.  We played a competitive game against a really nice team and helped out our favorite cause.  The sting of our loss was subdued by complimentary t-shirts.  Brayton put it best when he pointed out that we had significantly improved over last year, which is very true.  Next year, look out.  We might need our own category!  I was just pleased to get out of there with my dignity and ankles in tact.

Honestly, recommend checking out this event next year.  Even if you don’t put a team in (or if you do) go and watch.  You will see all levels of basketball (we fell in the upper middle if I must say so).  But, more importantly you will see a ton of people up pretty early to help out one of the best charities in Maine.  Not a bad start to a Sunday.

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