Monday, October 26, 2009

The Horse King

Joel Miller's House

He lived just a few doors down from 1410 Oliver Avenue North where I lived in my early high school years. He had a basketball hoop and backboard attached to the garage in back of his house. I could go out my back door and down the alley to play “horse” with Joel Miller, who was a basketball star. He later played center on the North High basketball team, but now he was my friend and mentor. We would play “horse” after school nearly every afternoon, even in winter. On weekends there were always a bunch of guys there and we would divide up for “two-on-two” games. I was usually chosen last. But I didn’t care.  I was learning. Not well enough to try out for the high school team, but well enough to be a “walk-on” in my second year at the University of Minnesota. I just walked into the freshman coach, Glen Reed’s office and said I wanted to try out. I really worked hard. Made it to the final cut. But I at least proved something to myself. I always thought I should have been taller. So I reconciled myself to playing the game for fun and played on our church basketball team during the remainder of my college years. I did get some satisfaction when we had a pickup game with the “Benny Leonard” young men’s team, a Jewish team made up of some of the North High players and outscored them by a comfortable margin. My friend Joel Miller signed my high school annual “The Horse King,” indicating that I had never beaten him at the game in his back yard. I re-connected with him at our 40th high school reunion. He is now a doctor in Denver and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I guess he taught me more than the art of playing basketball.

         Joel Miller the psychiatrist

Joel Miller and Me


      First Christian Church Mpls Young Men’s BB Team 1957-8

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