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A whole different ball game

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 9:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 14, 2014 9:17 p.m. CDT
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Rob Wendlick reacts after sinking a shot during a donkey basketball game at Minooka Community High School Wednesday night.
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Dane Christensen, 18, reacts as his donkey takes him to the sidelines while Mark Geers, 18, follows during a donkey basketball game at Minooka Community High School Wednesday night.

MINOOKA – It was a rocky relationship from the very start for Dane Christensen and his donkey as soon as the duo hit the basketball court Wednesday night at Minooka Community High School.

“He did basically everything I didn’t want him to do,” said Christensen, 18, a senior. “When I pulled him, he went any other way. I tried to get to the basket to score but he insisted on going the other way. It was just not working out.”

Christensen was one of dozens of students and faculty who saddled up with their four-legged counterparts for the school’s “Donkey Basketball” fundraising event on Wednesday, hosted by Minooka’s chapters of the Future Farmers of America and Spanish National Honor Society.

Where a high-scoring game lacked, the laughter did not. Mark Geers, 18, spent much of the game dragging his donkey from one end of the court to another in a desperate attempt to chase after a loose ball and get a shot off.

But when Geers finally could get positioned well enough for a shot, his donkey would stubbornly rear up, he said.

“It wouldn’t even let me get on it,” Geers said. “The shot itself isn’t that hard, but getting on, getting positioned, that’s the hard part. They’re hard to control so as soon as you get close enough to the basket, you’ve gotta take a shot.”

The rules are similar to that of basketball, except dribbling is not required. Players have to be on a donkey to shoot, but can only hold the ball for 15 seconds.

The family-friendly event had four teams made up of seniors, juniors, faculty members, and a combination team of FFA and Spanish National Honor Society members. Each game lasted 12 minutes. An Ohio-based company, Buckeye Donkey Ball, supplied the animals.

While organizers didn’t have a formal attendance count, Sarah Strache, agriculture instructor and FFA adviser, said 500 tickets were sold prior to the event and the stands were nearly jam-packed.

Strache said the money raised will go toward the school’s FFA and Spanish National Honor Society chapters for supplies, trips and other activities throughout the year.

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