That’s the place my father went shoulder-to-shoulder with Baylor.
Mel Streeter was a expertise in his personal proper then. He had performed on the University of Oregon within the early 1950s, when he was the one Black participant on his groups. (Imagine that as you watch the Ducks, bursting with Black expertise, within the Sweet Sixteen of the boys’s match.) After transferring with my mother to Seattle, he thrived within the fast-paced, wide-open type performed in Seattle’s highly effective A.A.U. league, the place video games have been performed in entrance of packed crowds and have been typically featured prominently within the sports activities pages.
Baylor was part of that blend. He suited up within the A.A.U. league for a powerhouse group: Westside Ford.
I want now that I had requested my father extra about his one-and-only recreation towards Baylor, extra about that league and people occasions. But dad died 15 years in the past. As shut as we have been, a few of his historical past will all the time be minimize off from me. I don’t know what group he was on when he performed towards Baylor. I don’t know if it was an enormous recreation with excessive stakes — just like the battles that helped resolve who would head off to the A.A.U. nationwide championship.
Thankfully, I’ve a agency recollection of the look on my father’s face as he spoke of how, in a head-to-head matchup between two tall, lithe and highly effective forwards, he held Baylor to 2 first-half factors. Oh, and pa by no means let any of his 4 sons overlook that whereas he was holding down Baylor, he was lighting up the scoreboard. Even earlier than my older brother Jon knew I used to be penning this column, the second he heard about Baylor’s loss of life he despatched me a textual content together with his personal recollections of our household’s well-told story: “Dad scored 11 in the first half!”
But how did the sport finish?
Whenever he got here to the story’s backstretch, my dad would all the time smile and produce me shut, letting me know that this quick proverb was not truly about him.
As it turned out, angered at being proven up, Baylor got here out within the second half decided to show Mel Streeter a lesson. As dad informed it, the whole again half of the sport was primarily a blur as Baylor whipped previous my father for layups or arcing, orbital leap pictures. Baylor didn’t simply flip the tables: He made recognized that he was merely a distinct sort of cat. He shut down dad with lockdown protection, and torched dad for 24 factors.