Alicia is literally hanging in the air. The petite sixth-grader stretches her arms as long as she can to reach the three-meter-high basketball hoop with her fingertips.She doesn’t need a ladder today, because jason boone and oliver clay, both professional basketball players of the s.Oliver baskets wurzburg, lift them high. "It was totally cool up there", she exclaims enthusiastically when she has solid ground under her feet again. Almost like flying.
The two basketball cracks sit calmly at a table in the gymnasium of the dettelbach secondary school and sign autographs. The fact that the autograph cards eventually run out doesn’t detract from the unbridled enthusiasm at the school. On the contrary, the schoolchildren have everything signed where there is room for two signatures. T-shirts, basketballs, funf-euro bills. "It’s now worth more than just five euros", grins michael heb. The eighth-grader triumphantly holds up the blue banknote, showing it to his friends before pocketing it again.
Commitment is required, after all, it’s not every day that you have two bundesliga players as guests. "I didn’t even know that they were coming today and only heard it in the announcement earlier, says christoph barthel from the 7a class, for example. "I think that’s totally cool", he also thinks.
The blame for all the hullabaloo lies with ina and jochen habermann, a pair of young parents who donated two life-size photos of jason boone and oliver clay to the school. The couple is crazy about basketball and got the photos last season."I bought the pictures of the two at an auction because I liked them best," she laughs, tells ina habermann. New york’s boone and berlin’s clay go down well with the fans. But now the question arose as to where the two season ticket holders should put up the pictures, which are over two meters in size. "There was a marital discussion", she laughs. Son jannik came up with the solution: there’s plenty of room at school. Without further ado, the pictures were donated and the basketball fever was stoked up. "I think it makes sense to get the kids excited about sports", she is satisfied.
The habermanns have good contacts with the s.Oliver baskets: a few years ago, jochen was himself an active player for the club, and with their joint company verantec, the pair provides the necessary lighting and sound technology for home games. They had no trouble getting boone and clay to sign autographs at their son’s school, and their idea was met with approval from the school’s principal, werner dunisch."Since i’ve been principal, we’ve gone to a game in wurzburg every year," says christoph barthel, he says.
So the two life-size photographs hang on the wall in the foyer. Of course also signed. In between, there is another poster with an oversized basketball emblazoned on it. "Only basketball on your mind, is what it says.
It’s no surprise that dunisch is standing with the pros during the autograph session, wearing a black-and-red fan scarf in true style. "I’m not just wearing it today, says the self-confessed s.Oliver baskets fan. Even when superstar dirk nowitziki was still chasing baskets in wurzburg as a young talent, dunisch already went to the home games in the s.Oliver arena driven.
Yesterday, normal lessons were out of the question for the entire school. For dunisch, however, such events are part of school life. "For the kids it is simply an experience. I am always in favor of schools opening up to the outside world", says the german teacher. That’s why it’s not uncommon in dettelbach to see not only the substitution schedule on the bulletin board on monday mornings, but also the newspaper article about the baskets’ last national league game. "Only a basketball school team is still missing", dunisch says.