YOU PROBABLY THINK SLED dog racing is THE Alaska sport. You’d be wrong. THE Alaska sport is basketball. Think about it. It’s played indoors. Even most smaller Alaskan villages have their own school, which includes their own gymnasium. The gym is where everything happens in Alaska village life, potlatches, voting, high school proms, earthquake and tsunami evacuation. The play I saw was “Bus Stop” was when the Homer Little Theatre brought it across Kachemak Bay to the stage of the Seldovia gym. I went both nights. So did the rest of the town.
But underneath the peppermint twist and the advanced citizenship and the scenery chewing, there are still the two keys, home field advantage at one end and enemy territory at the other. The two hoops hang from their boards like sentinels, watchful, waiting, and the scoreboard lours over all. For whatever secondary purpose the gym is suborned, the next game is just a dribble, a bounce pass, a jump shot away.
I think the main reason I’m a writer today is that the editor of the Seldovia High School student newspaper got to travel with the basketball team to report on away games in exotic places like Ninilchik and Kenai. You had to be able to write to be the editor. I was hot to go with. I wrote. Go, Sea Otters!
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.