Badertscher court

The half court in the backyard of the Badertscher family in Janesville sits empty Monday afternoon. The setup, which includes LED lighting, can typically be found hosting between one and a dozen neighborhood kids.

I have consistently received two questions since coronavirus essentially knocked out all sports at every level for the foreseeable future.

What are you going to put in The Gazette sports section?

And what are we all going to do when we’ve been told to socially distance ourselves?

The only real answers I’ve been able to give have been: “I’m not sure” or “We just kind of have to wait and see.”

Such uncertainty doesn’t exactly put anyone at ease. But the truth is, there’s a lot we still don’t know when it comes to the state of sports during and after the coronavirus pandemic, and we probably won’t have concrete answers for a while.

Until then, what we can do is get creative.

In that spirit, my hope is that today marks the start of a daily series that will bring something fun and creative to our local sports world that we desperately need right now.

If we can fill sports pages and fill sports fans’ hearts at the same time, that is something I want to do.

And I want to do it by sharing all of your memories that drove you to become a sports fan.

In today’s column, I bring you the story of a family that built a basketball half court in their backyard 17 years ago. It was supposed to be a fun place for the three Badertscher brothers and their friends. But with the boys now grown and moved out of the house, the court has still continued to be a haven for any neighborhood kids wanting to put up a few shots or sneak in a game of 21.

I pass the court every day, and I see kids playing on it more often than I don’t. During a walk Saturday, one day after they learned school would be out of session multiple weeks due to the virus, I tweeted a photo of kids playing on it.

“These kids don’t know the battles, blood and sweat that roamed that sanctuary before them,” replied Noah Berghammer, a Janesville native and now a baseball player at the University of Minnesota.

Not everyone has a court in their backyard. Or their friend’s backyard. But before we were so enamored with championships or brackets or tracking our favorite teams 24/7 on social media, most of us had someplace, something or someone who simply helped us develop our love of the game.

We within Adams Publishing Group want to tell your sports stories and your memories from your communities.

Reach out to us and tell us who, where or what inspired your love of sports. We’ll share some of ours, as well, along the way.

We don’t know when, but sports will resume.

Until then, let’s all get through this.

Together.

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