Shoveling the Court:
There they were, two of the best point guards our neighborhood ever produced. Edgar Dela-Rosa and Gammie. On a cold, snowy December night, must have been close to 7:00 PM.
Holy Name boys schoolyard had three full courts. Edgar and Gammie were hard at work removing the snow from the middle court.
It had snowed a lot earlier in the day, matter of fact it snowed all day and just stopped at six. After school I didn’t bother to go to the schoolyard like we normally did to play ball. Cold weather didn’t stop us, nor did the snow. Just didn’t feel up to it. Instead I hung out with my friends on ninth avenue throwing snowballs at people. We were also skitching on the back if the 75 and 69 buses.
After dinner I was hanging out with my friends on Howard Place and Prospect Avenue. We did this often, never really picked a particular corner. It was random, every day.
I looked in the boys schoolyard and saw two people shoveling. I walked in and Edgar and Gammie were hard at work. In our neighborhood we didn’t have a gym. The boys schoolyard was where we played ball. No rec center. You weren’t getting in Bishop Ford High School to play.
At the time Edgar played for St. Francis College and Gammie was a senior at John Jay High School. These two fantastic point guards shoveled a narrow path from one baseline to the other; fence to the church wall.
After they cleared a path, all they did was work on their dribbling. Up and down the court. Cross-over, behind the back, covering a lot of ground. Spinning and hesitation too…
“Yo Red, grab a shovel and help us!” Gammie shouted.
I did what I was told and began to help them. There was a shovel leaning against the fence. When I was done, I joined them. My friends stood outside the chain-linked fence and watched us. When Gammie and Edgar left, I shoveled some more. I needed more space to get a few shots up. After that night I would shovel the courts often.
Those were the days my friend…