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Seth’s Cut: Hanging up the high tops

March 16, 2022 -  By
Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Basketball has always been a passion of mine. My love of hoops is one of the things that drew me to Kansas University, which regularly has one of the top teams in college. I crammed a lot of basketball watching in my four years at KU. I also laced ’em up and played as often as possible. It was always easy to find a game, either in the intramural leagues or at the various courts around campus.

After graduating college, it wasn’t as easy to find a game, so a group of us decided to put together a city league basketball team. We weren’t ever good enough to win the league and after a while, we started struggling to get enough guys to show up for games. Eventually, we dropped out of the league.

But we kept playing as a group and learned that we had more fun getting 10 to 15 guys together to play two hours of pickup basketball on Sundays. We all started growing up, getting married and having kids, but we kept the core together and played for more than 20 years on a rented court just a few blocks from my house.

As the original guys started dropping off, we replaced them with younger guys. In recent years, as my knees aged and I slowed, the young guys got too fast for me. There were only two of us originals left, both of us named Seth. Despite playing different positions — I’m a forward, he’s a guard — we made an agreement that us two old guys would guard each other and go easy while the young pups would get after one another.

The pandemic was the nail in the coffin for Sunday pickup basketball. We never had a formal going away game. We all walked off the court one day and that was it. I’m glad I played OK on that last day and hit a few 3s. At least I can say I won the last battle of the Seths.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that this was the end of my basketball playing career. And it made me wonder. How many times are we doing something we love for the last time and we don’t even know it?

Recently we hosted the LM Growth Summit again, back at Reunion Resort in Orlando. I remember the moment we made the decision to cancel the event in 2020. I considered how much work I had put into the event, only to see it all just go POOF! Gone. I remember sitting at my desk, breathing a heavy sigh, and then getting back to work. There was nothing else I could do.

Bringing back the LM Growth Summit, which we hosted recently and recap in this issue, was a welcome revival of something that was temporarily on hold. It was such a great feeling to once again walk into a room of 50-plus people (including my team), a mix of people I knew and people I was excited to meet.

Some things go away and they’re gone forever, like Sunday pickup. My knees don’t ache on Mondays anymore, but I do miss the rewarding sound of the ball swishing through the net. I’m not totally out of basketball these days — I’m coaching my son’s 3rd and 4th-grade rec league team. At least I can still keep up with 10-year-olds.

Some things go away but then they come back, like the LM Growth Summit. I’m grateful for the return of these opportunities to network and learn. When they went away, I didn’t know how long they’d be gone. Now that they’re back? I plan to take full advantage. Because you never know when you’re hanging up your high tops for good.

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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