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Snowball was taking charge of the pickup basketball behind the Gedunk.
“Havlicek, you wanna run wid us?” he said to me.
They called me Havlicek because he was one of the few white guys in the NBA they respected. He was a hustler and a winner. I took it as a compliment.
“Yeah if my buddy Overstreet can be on our team.” Ronnie Overstreet was in my company, black kid from East St. Louis, Illinois.
Overstreet and I bonded when we were with three or four other guys cleaning the barracks while the other 75 guys were away.
We were stripping and waxing floors, etc.
Overstreet strung a light string across the barracks between bunks. It was about five feet off the ground.
“Okay, let’s see who can jump over this motherfucker.”
The other guys rolled their eyes.
I said, “Okay.”
“Havlicek, you jump over this motherfucker, and I mean clean, I’ll buy you a beer when we go on Liberty to that Mets, Cubs game.”
“You’re on.”
Overstreet got into a sprinter’s crouch and went full speed, bringing all parts of his body up and over that string.
Everybody wowed in amazement.
Look, I’m a high jumper but not on a waxed floor, barefoot. You can’t do a “western roll” here and this was way before the “Fosbury flop”. You had to go staight on “nigger style” no messing around.
“C’mon Havlicek, your turn.”
I gave it my best and just ticked the string.
“C’mon man, you get another try. Just taste that beer I’m gonna get you. You can do it man.”
I gathered my strength and realized I had to pull all of my junk up and over that string.
I was running at a rate that was frightening to me and lifted consciously up and over.
“You did it man, I told you blood has hops. My man.”

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