Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Memories In Black And White

York City Auditorium
York, Nebraska
Basketball games in Texas begin earlier than in Nebraska. I would guess our high school teams at WCS have already played a combined 18-20 games. The following, from August 6, 2006, is a trip down my athletic memory lane.

Video tape has spoiled us. I can tape a basketball drill and immediately take my players off the floor to watch it. It was different when I played. Our high school games (York High: York, Nebraska) were recorded on Super 8mm film but because it took time to develop, we never watched them. Our coach, Dale Neal, swapped the films with other coaches for scouting purposes. Several years ago, York High sponsored an alumni basketball tournament. One of my high school teammates, Don Knipfel, found five cans of film from the games our senior year. Apparently, they were about to be thrown out and were available for anyone who wanted them. All five were home games played at the York City Auditorium. Don acquired the films and converted one into VHS format. I was blessed when he sent me a copy, along with the four remaining canisters. This week, I had one of the games converted from Super 8mm to DVD with a musical soundtrack added. By the end of the week, I hope to have mailed copies to my seven senior teammates from that long ago season. I have been looking for a way to reconnect and maybe this is the way the Lord will provide.

Do you believe in the supernatural? When I initially I viewed the films, it was like seeing a ghost. For the first time in my life, I saw myself playing basketball. I was a seventeen year old kid, with other seventeen year old kids, who thought the world revolved around Friday and Saturday nights from December through February. What emerged from those cans of film is grainy, black-and-white footage. It's obvious that the game itself has changed in the intervening decades. There was no three point line back then and every held ball resulted in a jump ball. Basketball was less physical then. More kids lift now and different interpretation of the rules allows a greater degree of contact. That's the coach side of me. The teenager side of me is struck by a flood of memories. It isn't the specifics of the contest that fascinate but a general glow from the time when I was blissfully ignorant. I catch myself getting frustrated when I miss a shot or fail to block out. In all five films that Don rescued, we won. I don't know if I could relive a loss, even years later. I don't remember who the camera man was but at the end of each game, there is a minute or so focused on the cheerleaders. They still look pretty good to this day.

I am so glad Don took the time to preserve those films. What those cans hold has meaning to twenty people or less in the world but to those select few, it might be pretty important. It wasn't just the act of saving the films; they had to be restored. Without the technician who performed the conversion, the memories would have remained celluloid strips disintegrating in a metal container. With the right touch and procedures, long dead images are in motion once more. Restoration is a dominant theme of the Bible. A nation gone astray; a child whose life-breath has ceased; a believer who has wandered- all needed the touch from the restorer of all things, physical and spiritual. When that touch came, precious life was restored. We all go through stretches where we long for restoration to friends, family, a happier time, or to the one who created us. Sometimes, we're just like that Super 8mm film. We just need someone to take us out of the can and hold us up to the light, making us useful again. Maybe in the restored version, we can edit out all my missed shots!

Applicable quote of the day:
"In memory's telephoto lens, far objects are magnified."
John Updike

God bless,
Steve (#32-white uniform)
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Coach Hinson said...

Are these the videos from Coach Neal's early coaching days? If so could I get a copy to view and maybe send him? I would of course pay for shipping and stuff!

Jon said...

Technology is only getting better

chuck said...

That is cool. I would love to have some old baseball video from my playing days. Of course, mine would have been in color.

I think we should start a movement to bring back the old Pittsburg hats that we wore my last two years.

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