With fall finally here, and the holidays right around the corner, it’s hard to believe that my line of visitors has not yet slowed down. I had expected, like most people living here year round, a break in the flow after Labor Day, but surprisingly, they still keep coming. Beautiful autumn weather still draws family and friends to the seashore.
Of course, I don’t mind. I thoroughly enjoy entertaining or serving as home base for those who want to find adventure on their own. Probably the most interesting group of guests paid us a visit this past weekend: a reunion of college basketball players.
Ranging from 6’ 6” to 6’10”, it was a challenge to not only feed the five of them, but to make their beds as comfortable as possible when their feet dangle off the end! Fortunately, my husband “happens” to own two 7’ long, extra wide camping cots meant for that purpose.
My husband played basketball in college and went on to pursue dentistry, while a few others from the team continued their basketball careers. One played basketball in Ireland’s European league, and one actually went on to play in the NBA for a few years. Yet another ended up playing professional baseball (his first love) in the minor league.
And here they were 40 years later, reminiscing about their college days, citing specific games and scores from memory as if it were just last year. I thought I’d quietly slip away after dinner to let them catch up, but surprisingly I was brought into the conversation, and admittedly, there were quite a few comical stories I hadn’t heard before. How I envied their camaraderie!
Those from the team all those years ago who couldn’t make the trip were called and put on speaker for all to hear. Even their coach got an unexpected call, and a basketball alumnus (a legend now in his nineties) that played professionally for many years got in on the act as well.
I found myself in the role of videographer at one point. Each former player said something motivational, addressing this year’s young college team. A coach played it to the team on their first official practice of the season.
The constant theme each of our guests focused on was not basketball. No, all of them expressed the importance of lasting friendships like theirs. And the friendships truly are remarkable. Roommates, teammates and friends for life, even though they are scattered throughout the east coast.
Although I’ll be washing sheets and towels for several days now, I have to say that this group was definitely the most interesting. Before they departed, a group photo that included me was taken – a photo I will cherish because it is so ridiculous-looking. When the next shortest person in the photo towers over you by more than 14 inches, it puts things in perspective.
These overgrown men also have enormous heart. Their affection and respect for each other is evident. It was a privilege to witness it. I’ll be ready when they return next year. If only all of our houseguests could be so polite and humorous!
I was warned by many to expect lots of visitors. They were right. It is part of the deal I signed up for, and it’s a wonderful deal indeed.