MADISON, Wis. Middle-aged men cursed under their breath at the sight of the scrawny fifth grader attempting to participate in their pick-up basketball games. They did not understand that, even at 11 years old, Mike Bruesewitz wanted to play and win just as badly as them.
Bruesewitz, while clearly not yet possessing the same physical attributes as the other players, continued to show up at Litchfield High School in Minnesota every Wednesday and Sunday at 6 p.m. for adult open gym. His father, Rob, would play, while Mike would stand on the sideline honing his dribbling or shooting, waiting for a chance to join in.
When players' stamina waned and teams were short on bodies, Mike inserted himself into the lineup, much to the dismay of others.
"When you're in fifth grade, playing against 45-, 50-year-old guys, some of them aren't too happy that you're on the floor with them," Bruesewitz says. "There are some guys that will ice you out and won't pass you the ball and get mad. If I w...