Ican always tell when York College basketball player Brittany Hicks has had a good game or is having a good season.
Because people -- sometimes total strangers -- come up to me and say something like: "Hey, Hicks, your daughter is a terrific basketball player," or "Your daughter played a great game last night."
To which I always respond, "You must have the wrong guy, my daughter doesn't play basketball."
"C'mon, how many Hickses are there in this world? She's gotta be your daughter."
"Sorry, not mine," I say. "But I agree, she's a heck of a basketball player."
It's a conversation I've had a couple dozen times in recent years.
It started about six years ago, when Brittany was getting a lot of playing time for the York Catholic girls' basketball team.
And it picked up steam her last two years there because she was a starter and serious contributor on a team that won the state championship twice, was the state runner-up twice and captured the District 3 championship all four years she played for the Fighting Irish.
She was a 1,000-point scorer for York Catholic, but she was better known for her physical play, her rebounding and her defense. At 5 feet, 9 inches, she was a force under the basket.
I saw her play a couple of times -- never met her though -- and I was always impressed that she didn't let anyone push her around.
Anyway, after high school she decided to attend York College -- she's a biology/pre-med major and a Dean's List student -- which has been a blessing for the York College women's team. They're off to an 11-3 start this season, although they've been struggling of late, losing three straight.
As a freshman, Brittany started in 25 of 26 games, managed 5.5 rebounds and averaged 10 points a game. The next year, she started in all 30 games, increased her rebounds to 8.8 per game and scored almost 14 points a game.
This year, she's started in 12 games and averages a double-double almost every time she hits the floor -- 11.6 rebounds and 16.1 points per game.
And yes, we do share the same last name.
So I've been hearing it a lot lately, most recently on Tuesday when a guy walked up to me at the Central Market in downtown York and said, "Hey, your daughter is having a great season at York College."
I knew who he was talking about, of course, so I tried to be gracious. "No. Not my daughter. She doesn't play basketball."
"Sure she does," he said. "You know, Brittany Hicks."
"To the best of my knowledge, she's not my daughter," I said. "She's got parents, but I'm not one of them."
"Sure you are," he said.
"No, I'm not," I replied with a sense of urgency in my tone. "And I think I would know."
Her parents are Tim and Nancy Mihalko of the Dover area. I don't know them, but I'm pretty certain I never dated anyone named Nancy.
Besides, I'm too old to be Brittany's father. Heck, I'm old enough to be her grandfather. My own children were almost out of high school before she was even born.
Honestly, Brittany has a father, but it's not me. I'm sure of it.
Now if she wants to adopt me as a father/grandfather-like figure, that would be OK with me, I guess, as long as I don't have to pay her college bills. I've been down that road a couple of times already, and I'm not anxious to do it again anytime soon.
The bottom line, though, is that we're not related. It would be OK with me if we were, but we're not. And I'm certainly not her father.
But I wish her well.
The fellow who approached me at the Central Market on Tuesday was right about one thing: She is a fine basketball player, and she's having a great year at York College.
On that, we can all agree.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.