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Monday, June 22, 2015

Solstice Poems

The assignment 

Write a solstice poem the includes at least five of these words: luminous, bedazzling, sunny, saturated, radiant, incandescent, bright.

I spent the 2015 Solstice in the Newport Levee shopping area, raising funds for Alzheimer's research by writing instant poems. It was also Father's Day. I recreate the experience through the poetry assignment from my sister, given above.

Image result for cincinnati from newport

Solstice on the Newport Levee
by Joy Dickerson

Wind whips the American flag into a bedazzling patriotism
Bright blue sky backdrops the Cincy cityscape.
Paving bricks wobble with waves of radiant heat,

I am saturated with sound--an African drummer, satellite radio,
Even explosions, as the Reds across the river
Set off a blast for each home run.

Saris of incandescent silk, too-tight tank tops
Geometric print dresses shimmer by
Shoes in every color of the rainbow
Skin in every color of coffee from black to palest ivory
(The glorious bright sunshine leaves my skin a luminous radiant red.)

The coolest sight of all on this hot day
Is the daddy dates, Daddy dragged toward
Restaurant, shop, aquarium.
Daddies making the ultimate sacrifice
On the day set aside for their honor,
Doing whatever his kid wants him to want to do.

My sister Robin's poem takes us to the pool. Same writing prompt.

Solstice at the Swimming Pool
by Robin Dickerson

The pool is saturated with gentle coolness,
Sun bedazzles bright on the blue,
Swimmers ambling down through the woods luminous with expectation,
Peeking through the fence orange lilies incandescent against the green,
The earth radiates warmth.
I am saturated with summer.
Image result for swimming pool water

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Katie Smith: Champion of Champions

Here's a change of pace from literary observations. I found this manuscript biography of basketball player Katie Smith lurking in my Word directory. It's from 2006 and Katie has accomplished a lot since then, but I enjoyed rereading it.

Champion of Champions: Katie Smith

Image result for katie smith osu
Katie fans: Remember the braid?
Now you see her, now you don’t. She may be dribbling the basketball up the court, looking relaxed, looking to see what players are open for a pass. She’s cool. She’s in charge. Next thing you know, she’s weaving through a copse of defenders, taking the ball to the basket with a jump and a twist. In just a few seconds, Katie Smith can change the whole game. Next time down the court, watch out. She may pull up short and shoot for a three-pointer that barely riffles the net.

 Katherine May Smith, called Katie, is known around the world as a star of women’s basketball. She was born on June 4, 1974 and grew up in Logan, Ohio. Logan is a small town in a rural area. It’s not the type of place you’d pick for the launching of an international career. But you would pick Smith’s family. Many of them were star athletes in a number of sports. Smith grew up playing basketball with her two brothers, John who is older and Tom who is younger. They played tough and hard and Smith learned her way around the court on offense and defense. When you are playing one-on-one or two-on-one basketball, you can’t slack off on defense. There’s no one but you between a snotty older brother and the basket. In the fifth grade, she started playing on a boys’ team.

Image result for katie smith osu
Olympic gold
Growing up playing basketball and other sports was important physically, too. Smith didn’t have to get in shape for basketball—she was already in shape, strong, tall and lean. She grew to be 5’10” tall—tall enough to play basketball in high school, and maybe college. In high school, Smith played for the Logan Lady Chiefs. Her team won the Division I Ohio Girls’ Basketball state championship when Smith was a senior in 1991. She had played on her first championship team.

Smith was named the national Gatorade Player of the Year for that year and was recruited by several colleges. However, she decided to play basketball in the Big Ten Conference about 60 miles up the road from home—at Ohio State University. Big Ten basketball was big time basketball. Smith would travel, go to tournaments, talk to TV, radio, and newspaper reporters, and get her picture in the paper more than ever. And she would be playing with and against some of the best basketball players in the United States.

In the thick of it with the Quest
One reason it was important to choose a big school was because there wasn’t much further to go in women’s basketball. Unless she wanted to play in a foreign country, Smith’s career was likely to end with her last college game. She could use her zoology degree and go right into dental school. Basketball would become trophies in a case and many terrific memories.

Smith excelled at Ohio State and in the Big Ten. In her freshman year, her Ohio State Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship and went to the NCAA title game. When she was a senior, Smith was named the 1996 Big Ten Most Valuable Player. She broke a major record by scoring more points in her career than any other Big Ten basketball player—man or woman—ever had before.

But what would Smith do now? There were two answers. One answer was not surprising: she was invited to play on the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, a commitment that lasted many years and earned Smith several gold medals. The other answer was surprising: she was invited to play professional women’s basketball in a brand new league, the American Basketball League.

From 1996-1998, Smith played for the ABL’s Columbus Quest, with time out for the U.S. Olympic team. The Quest dominated the ABL with amazing defense and pinpoint scoring. Smith’s three-point shot and physical play led the team to the only two league championships the ABL would ever have. The ABL went out of business, but most of its players were snapped up by another new league, the Women’s National Basketball Association, sister to the NBA.

Image result for katie smith espn
Today, Katie works as a broadcaster and is an
assistant coach for the New York Liberty
Smith played for the Minnesota Lynx and the Detroit Shock of the WNBA. With the Shock, she achieved another championship. In 2006, the Shock defeated the Sacramento Monarchs to win the WNBA title. Now Katie had championship rings in both the ABL and WNBA.

Smith has been a winner all of her career. She has played basketball on every continent (except Antarctica!) and in many countries. Ohio State retired her jersey in 2001, making her the first woman to win that honor. She has scored more three-point goals than any player in WNBA history and was even named Ohio State Female Athlete of the Century! Now, what was that about dental school?