March Madness and Memories

 I grew up in Kansas and basketball is the king, queen, grand empress, the fat lady, the end-all-be-all of sports to those lucky enough to live in a state with such a proud heritage and legacy of success –  first created and first played within the state lines.   I started dribbling a ball before I could walk.  The first activity of the day growing up was a game of HORSE out on the driveway with my brothers or neighborhood buds.  My dad or HH (Harold Hauck) loved the game and taught us Hauck kids to love it too.  My mother wasn’t such a fan but she was a good sport and when she was convinced to attend a game – usually only at a critical tipping point – she would arrive… good book in hand or if alas, empty handed, she coped by “doing excellent people watching” as she liked to say.  I never saw her shoot a basketball.  I don’t know how many games my dad played, coached, attended, discussed, debated, and analyzed in his 79 years of good Kansas living but it had to be in the tens of thousands.  He played for Newton High – a state powerhouse in Kansas high school basketball in the late 1940’s.  There is a documentary of this dream  team that you can find through the Newton Historical Society.  He then was recruited to play college ball at K-State but decided to transfer to Washburn University in Topeka his sophomore year so that he could play more. He met my mom in a college class and they soon married (he always said she was the brains of the outfit and he was right).  He earned his degree and then joined the Air Force where he continued to play round ball island hopping around east Asia.  After the hiatus ended in Japan in the early 1950’s, mom and him settled back in the land of oz and he found a job teaching biology and coaching basketball in tiny Kansas towns of Peabody, Durham and Medicine Lodge.  He coached football and track too but always loved basketball the most.  He was a fan of all the Kansas teams…Wichita State, Kansas State, University of Kansas and Washburn and traveled to watch them play all over the United States. He loved high school basketball too and coached my middle school team of budding young Wildcats at Holton in the mid -70’s after years of coaching young males. He agreed to coach my team just to get a basketball program started for girls as he knew we couldn’t be a powerhouse if we came to the game too late and without years of fundamentals.. we need to know how to pass (chest and bounce pass), how to dribble (you had to be able to dribble just as well with your left hand as your right), how to shoot with just the right touch and NEVER miss a free throw (practice, practice, practice) as well as an understanding that you won with your defense not your offense – he never really liked the three point shot…just a bit too showy for his taste.  He made financial donations to the teams when funds were short and volunteered time when expertise and leadership were needed.  He never made a lot of money but he lived a life full of basketball, sport and fun.  He also, uncharacteristically for most male sports fans, loved the arts too, and his calendar was full of theater openings, plays, and musicals.  

Watching  the Shockers win over Gonzaga last night spurred C1 to post a picture of HH and his granddaughters in front of 2221 Ashland on Facebook and I have shared it again below.  HH brought these shirts to us from his home in Wichita when Coach Marshall was hired at WSU.  On the back of the shirts, are the words “Marshall Plan,”  which he thought was so great since our last name is Marshall too.  My girls love basketball too (how could they not?) and we are having a blast watching all of the Madness of March.  Today KU plays University of North Carolina and it is sure to be a close match up in a battle to get to the Sweet 16.  We will be cheering them on with all the other basketball fans from Durham to Peabody to Medicine Lodge to Wichita to Holton to Topeka to Manhattan to Lawrence and to Kansas City!  Go Hawks!  Go Shockers!  Go Kansas! 

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