Adam Doster is a freelance writer. He lives in Chicago.
Kenny Lofton Week continues with Adam Doster's recollection of Thanksgiving weekend in 1987. It was then that -- after the University of Arizona men's basketball team flew to Anchorage, Ala. for the 10th annual Great Alaska Shootout -- sophomore wing Harvey Mason Jr. learned two things about his Wildcats: They could beat any team in the country, and their backup point guard, Kenny Lofton, could chuck snowballs at ludicrous speeds.
To untrained eye, it looks like a game nine-year-olds would dream up one bored summer day. But after watching the action for a few hours, seeing cyclists weave around the court in tight spirals and shovel off no-look passes, it becomes obvious that these are athletes who know exactly what they're doing. They are playing a sport that requires balance, coordination, and endurance. They are playing a sport that they think is poised for dramatic growth. They are playing a sport one veteran calls “perfect for our time and place". They are also playing a sport very few people know exists.
It’s the last week of July 1932. The Paris sun is beating down on the clay court at Roland Garros, and the Davis Cup is hanging in the balance. Jean Borotra is gassed. Across the net stands the world’s fourth-ranked player, Wilmer Allison, a Texan with a wicked forehand volley. Allison holds advantage in the 10th game of the decisive fifth set—one errant Borotra serve away from victory. A nervous energy pulses through the crowd as its national hero toes the service line, sweat soaking his trademark white linens and blue beret.
Chris Siriano's House of David Museum is the most comprehensive resource available documenting the story of baseball’s greatest religious-commune-based team. In the foreseeable future, it will become the only reminder of the Israelite House of David’s barnstorming glory days.