My Brother, Cyclone, the Basketball Star
I felt like a star at a very young age. When I was two, my brother Lowell was a senior in high school and the star of the basketball team. He was so fast and amazing on the court they began to call him Cyclone – Cyclone Hill. He was leading the Burlingame Bearcats to State Championship and with each game they played, more and more college scouts showed up to see him in action. He was a star and just being his sister made me a star too.
The cheerleaders made me their mascot and made me my own little purple and white cheerleader uniform to match their own. They even gave me my own little purple and white pompoms. Right before the half time buzzer was about to go off they’d have me toddle out on to the court with them to hype up the crowd so they’d stay for the half time show. The show usually included a longer, bigger more special cheer with a pyramid or something by the cheerleaders, followed by an act like a baton twirler, a magician, the Sweet Adelines or a barber shop quartet, sometimes a new number by the High School band. But no matter what else there was at half time, there was always – ALWAYS a Cake Walk and I always got to pull the winning numbers while my brother held me up.
For a small fee folks bought chances to walk in the circular Cake Walk until the music stopped and they landed on a number. They'd win if they landed on a number in the circle that was attached to one of the homemade cakes The team’s mothers made cakes from their best recipes in hope of raising money to get new uniforms for the team's trip to State. After the act of the week, the signal that the cake walk was about to begin, was my brother appearing in the doorway of the locker room, a towel hanging around his neck.
Next, my brother Cyclone would come running out of the locker room to HUGE applause, running a lap to take in the cheers of the crowd. When he reached the huddle of cheerleaders he'd take the damp towel from his neck and snap it towards one of the girl's behinds. But instead he'd snap it into the air, twirling it like a lasso over his head and finally throw it into the clamoring crowd. Then he’d scoop me up in his arms from the sidelines where I was waiting and continue to circle the gym floor. I’d stiffen my body the way he’d taught me as he held me by my feet so he could carry me like a torch around the court. When he signaled, I’d roll my body into a tight ball really fast and he’d catch me just before I hit the floor, which always got a huge gasp from the spectators. Then he’d throw me so high into the air and catch me again just in time for us to arrive at the big bowl of numbers for the Cake Walk winners. I’d reach in for a number, hand it to Lowell – I mean Cyclone, and he’d read it aloud with me on his hip.
I was very little but to this very day I can remember vividly how I loved the way the crowd cheered and I learned quickly what they wanted and I gave it to them in spades.