During the '50s, when there was no sex, the Jesuit retreat master would tell us, "Boys, sometimes you are going to find yourselves having what we call Impure Thoughts. And when that happens, boys, I want you to play basketball."

Thus in the concrete courtyard outside the cafeteria at St. Aloysius Gonzaga--before classes, between classes, in any weather, in the demon energy of our hormones--we played basketball. A boy would launch a set shot from the outside that rose steeply and dropped like a mortar shell. Swish! Another teenage pregnancy averted.

Basketball as birth control: the sublimating trajectory of ball to...

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