Pat Townsend the Competitor from Dan Carpenter

Pat was an athlete. He was not overly athletic but he competed; so in my book that made him an athlete and in our 14 months together I played in a lot of sporting activities with him. I have known plenty of guys who had skills but would not or could not compete. Pat was a competitor. His best talent in basketball was fouling, which he took pride in. He used to say before a game (because in practice or pickup games no one fouls out): I have five fouls to give and by God I am going to use every one of them.

You never had to worry about Pat getting a touch foul. He used his fouls to the fullest extent of the rules. I am waiting for the first person to come tell me he got a three point play over Pat (basket and free throw). You might have gotten two foul shots but the number of guys who got “the basket and one” has to be one or two at the most because if you challenged Pat near the goal he wasn’t going to give you the basket.

The year I worked with Pat our group of Marines used to go over to the Lenexa recreation center to play basketball at lunch. The group went over twice a week and ran the other days. Pat didn’t really care for running without a purpose so on the other days Pat, myself and Sgt. Jeff Jordan would go over to the rec center and play ball. We didn’t shoot around or play half-court, no not us: we played full court.

In other words, we ran the full length of the court playing against the other two guys. If you had the ball, you had to dribble the length of the floor defended by the other two guys to get your shot at the basket and if you missed it was full speed the other direction. Try doing that for an hour nonstop! Jeff and I were in our mid-twenties but Pat was about 41 at this time.

Needless to say we got our running in and played ball at the same time. I have never again run full court with so few guys. Pat did it 2-3 times a week all winter that year and never begged off. You have to really want to play basketball if you run full court with three guys…

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