A CHILDHOOD DREAM REVISITED
The last time I saw Harlem Globetrotters “live” I was 10 years old. They were 29. In their prime.
I thought they were the greatest. Seeing them play may have inspired me to pick up the game of basketball in a country where most kids played soccer at the time. Me included. But I switched. And eventually became captain of my high school basketball team in my senior year.
By that stage, my country of birth – Yugoslavia – was already a world power in basketball. The 10-year old kids in the 1960s were trying to emulate us, older players. They no longer had to switch from soccer to basketball.
Today, I had a chance to relive that childhood dream. And see the Globetrotters live again.
I have to be honest. It was not the same. Rather than playing before a crowd of over 30,000 screaming fans at a big outdoor Belgrade soccer stadium (in 1955 – see the ticket stub, not mine), the Globetrotters’ show today took place at a tiny high school gym in Maui.
And it was not sold out even though this was their 90th jubilee performance. Frankly, it felt more like a funeral wake to me.
“They are as old as the Queen of England,” you will hear me say in a narration to a video I recorded at the event.
The War Memorial gym was old. It was probably built in the 1940s. The lights were dingy. The sound quality horrible. I could perhaps understand every fifth word, if that. It was basically just senseless noise.
Eventually, I resigned myself to watching the event like a silent video despite the eardrum-shattering noise in the background.
My knees were squished. I sat sideways trying not to poke a kid below in the head. Next to me was a guy who reeked of garlic and onions. Somebody else’s feet stank worse than my high school locker room.
At least back then, I did not have to pay for such odorous “privilege.” I was a player. Other people paid to watch and smell my stinking feet. 🙂
“Not exactly the kind of crowd we see at our opera and symphony concerts,” I later told Elizabeth.
I don’t want to sound snobbish. I never expected the concert hall kind of audience at a Globetrotters’ show. After all, this was basketball not Beethoven.
Okay. Enough griping. Now that I’ve got the bad stuff off my chest… let me tell you, the Globetrotters’ 90th jubilee show was still a magical experience. For kids. To immerse myself in it, therefore, I also had to transport myself back to my childhood. And to see the today’s game through the eyes of a 10-year old.
So here’s now a video I made about the Globetrotters’ visit to Maui.
HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS IN MAUI TURNING 90! – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – April 24, 2016