the fall of 1977 I stopped out of college to spend a season playing
ball for a
team in Lucerne, the fetching lakeside city on the fringe of
the Alps. Two decades later I revisited my old club to take inventory
of the changes there, as well as to ruminate on the lot of the have-jump-shot,
will-travel hoops mercenary ruminations that were particularly
timely in light of what Id just witnessed in Poland.
The 1970s was a decade marked by lapses in good taste, particularly
in matters of clothing, sporting and otherwise. Pius Portmann, a
bakers son and our star center, is third from the left in
the back row of this team photo. As a teenager watching his first
televised game, the 1972 Olympic final from Munich, Pius could only
guess why some shots were worth two points and others only one.
He thought it might have to do with whether or not the ball struck
the backboard. Fortunately, his learning curve was steep.
The author is the emaciated, greasy-haired vagrant in the center
of the front row.