What my mother used to call a “rude awakening” never meant much to me until I suffered one myself, at age thirteen, when I made the basketball team at Meadowbrook Junior High, on Long Island. In spite of being only five seven, I dreamed of becoming a star player for our coach, Ed Runkle, known to us in private as Uncle Runkle, and going on from there to college and eventually to a stellar NBA career as a point guard for the New York Knicks.

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