It was a cold windy Friday night back in the dead of winter. Chewonki’s recent sunshine and warm weather were still months away and the boys of South Side (South Hall) began their nightly ritual: Pig. Known also as “Horse” in some circles, this game based on Basketball is a true test of human skill, strength, will power, endurance, and most of all honor. With a ten-dollar plastic Basketball and Net purchased from the Family Dollar, the first player shoots the ball. If the shot is made the next player must make the same shot. If this second shot is not made the player who took the shot gets the first letter “P”. When a player has all the letters spelling pig then he or she is out. In South Side this game determines who will be getting a load of wood to keep the cabin warm, but more importantly, it determines who will be receiving The Champions Belt. This belt made of cardboard and tape from one of Doug’s packages is the highest achievable honor in all of South Side. The winner hangs the belt high above his bed until the belt is taken from him by a new champion on a different night.
On one particular night Danny, Malcolm, Doug and I were taking our first shots back in the cabin when we heard the expected knocking from a faculty member who would check us in. But, my friends, this was not just any faculty member, it was Willard. Willard, the six foot eight inch king of the Wiscasset Community Men’s Basketball League is a force to be reckoned with on the pig court, and he joined the game. Within the first few rounds of playing, Danny, usually a fierce competitor, was eliminated when he could not make a tough shot that Willard had drained just seconds earlier. A few more rounds passed and Doug and Malcolm became Willard’s next two victims.
Then it hit me. South Side’s honor would be stripped from our hands if Willard walked away with our Champion’s Belt. I knew what I had to do. Taking a long shot from next to Danny’s bed in the corner I set a difficult shot to follow up. Willard, with the score of “PI” had to make this shot or lose the game and gain the final letter. The orange ball left his hands and soared towards the basket. It went closer and closer to the net but took a bad bounce on the rim and fell like a rock to the floor. I had won, but more importantly South Side was victorious. It was the greatest and most glorious moment of all time.
Looking back on the night now I always smile to myself. Where else, other than Maine Coast Semester, would you play your six foot eight inch principal in Pig.
-Grady Hogan, Summit, NJ