Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Shining Moment

Ah March!  Thou art truly a month resplendent in your Madness here in the State of Concrete Gardens.  Sixty degrees yesterday.  Twenty degrees today.  Who the hell knows what tomorrow might bring?  I pity the people who live in a place such as San Diego, California where the weather is benignly beautiful year-round.  The boredom must be crushing. 

March is indeed the month for Madness throughout this great land of ours (and I shall not take this opportunity to go on a jag about the fact that the Final Four will not be contested until April's first weekend).  I remain ever-hopeful that once again this year the field of teams invited to compete for the NCAA Mens' Basketball Championship will include my beloved Alma mater.  Given that our "hoops tradition" began in earnest about twelve minutes after Coach Tad Boyle arrived in Boulder four-plus years ago, we are never a sure thing.  With our best player lost to a season-ending injury in the first week of January, how he and his Buffaloes managed to win 21 games against a schedule determined to be the 13th-toughest in the country I know not.  I know that if their name is called as part of the field on Sunday night, I shall root hard for them.  If it is not, then I shall still root hard for them but I shall do so in the NIT. 

Step away from the madness for just a moment.  Step away to encounter and to enjoy the simply great story of Beau Howell, his teammates from Trinity Classical Academy and their opponents from Desert Chapel High School.  Last week, in a playoff game between the two schools that Trinity was leading by 20+ points in the game's final couple of minutes, Trinity's coach inserted Howell into the game.  Beau Howell is autistic.  He had never scored a basket in a game.  His teammates tried hard to get him one by passing him the ball but he missed the shots that he attempted.  It appeared as if he would not score. 

But with about thirty seconds to go in the game, a Desert Chapel player rebounded a missed shot.  His coach called timeout.  When Desert Chapel came out of the timeout and back onto the floor, one of their players motioned for Howell and his teammates to come down towards the basket that Desert Chapel was defending and when Howell reached the vicinity of the foul line, a Desert Chapel player passed him the ball.  It took him at least three more shots to finally drain that elusive first-ever hoop but drain it he did, with every miss being returned to him by an "opponent" from Desert Chapel and with encouragement being given to him by the other nine kids on the floor. 

I know not how this year's NCAA Tournament shall end.  I do know however that regardless of who wins, it is not likely that March (or April) will deliver a better, more magical moment than Beau Howell's.  


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