Donkey Basketball

Donkeypan_2 Every now and then, somebody thinks that having a donkey basketball game would be one hum-dinger of a fund-raiser.  Then they have one.  Attendance is big. Everybody loves it…but it’s a long time before somebody thinks that again: too hard to get a new crew of donkey-riders while it’s fresh on the minds of the last bunch.

Last night the Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center (aka our local hospital, the "twin rivers" are the Saint Francis and the Mississippi) held their "First Annual Donkey Basketball Game" to benefit their Relay for Life team.  Great cause, great idea, the place was packed.  Circle A Donkeyball provided the mounts, and the burros were pretty tolerant, if not very cooperative.  The two teams (Buckineers and Bodonkadonks) were comprised of hospital administrators, physicians (including one lady who had back surgery two months ago) and a number of ringers from the community. 

Scoreboard_2 This 12 to 10 score is amazingly high when you consider that you have to be mounted to shoot and the donkey is usually moving, so you’re hanging on with one hand and both catching and shooting with the other.  That’s not to mention that the gym in the old armory is so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.  If you’d like a simulation, stick your head and a boombox (turned up loud) into a 55-gallon drum.  Have two friends beat upon it savagely with baseball bats.  To add essence of Donkeyball, add a scoop of horse-manure to the drum.  (And they say there’s nothing to do in this town.)

Last night my brothers, Matt and Will, shared the M.C. duties.  Twenty years ago, Matt and I were on the donkeys.  It’s been so long ago that I can’t remember what the worthy cause was that time, but I believe the final score was nothing to nothing.  The Circle A folks provide safety helmets now, but I was the only guy who brought one back then (plus skateboarder’s knee and elbow pads).  In that game, they had one donkey trained to stop suddenly and duck his head on command.  This would easily unseat most riders, even an experienced horseman like myself.  Matt has a lot of "sand in his britches", as the cowpokes say.  He had done quite a bit of bronc riding. If he had dressed in western regalia, the donkey trainer might not have been so puzzled as to why the donkey failed to unload him.  He had, however, dressed in long underwear, P.E. shorts, red tennis shoes, Hawaiian flowerdy shirt, and ball cap on backwards (long before that was fashionable).  I wish I had a picture of that for you, but alas I do not.  He did not look the part of the cowboy, but the donkey couldn’t buck him off.  That particular donkey unloaded me whenever he got ready, I can tell you. 

The only really hard fall I took was when I attempted a flying mount on another donkey who wouldn’t stand still.  He wasn’t there when I landed.  The hardness of the armory floor is still fresh in my mind, fresher than the other memories, in fact.  That was the last donkey basketball game in Kennett prior to last night’s event.  I’m wondering how long it will be before the second Annual Donkey Basketball Game.

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