Friday, March 19, 2010

one of those things to ponder....

So, I called a friend who is as big a WVU basketball fan as I am. ("Danger/danger" if you don't care about basketball skip to the last couple of paragraphs for this will be tedious for a while.)

Dashawn Butler is a basketball player for WVU. He is a wondrous athlete and a extremely good basketball player. In fact, in the over 100 years of WVU basketball, only 2 players have scored more points than him--Jerry West (the icon of West Virginia and the player who is depicted on the NBA logo) and Hot Rod Huntley, who not only played as a pro but was the only white man ever to be a team member of the Harlem Globetrotters! He was a 'hot rod' and became a well known basketball 'color' commentator. Jerry West (called 'Zeak from Cabin Creek" played basketball in high school for East Bank High School. After he led them to the state championship two years in a row, they renamed the town "West Bank" for a while.) I grew up trying to do the tricks Hot Rod did or be the cool customer Jerry West was. When Dashawn was asked about being third in scoring to the two of them, he said (historically accurately) "Both of them did it in 3 years in many fewer games. I'm just a guy who got to play a lot more. They are great, I'm lucky."

Quite a statement for a basketball star in 2010. After WVU won the Big East Tournament on a last second shot by Dashawn, his coach, Bob Huggins, told the interviewer that Dashawn is the most 'complete' player he's ever coached (this is a guy who has won more games as a college coach than any active coaches besides the coaches of Duke, Sryacuse and UConn) "but," he continued, a little teary--not like Bob at all!--"he is a much better person than he is a basketball player...."

I just get misty writing this stuff. Dashawn is all that an more. A genuinely wonderful young man of 22 or so.

I've been worried that he might not play pro ball--not that it would ruin his life--but I hoped it for him. But I knew he reminded me of someone who had a long and productive professional career, but I couldn't remembe who.

Then I did: it was Michael Cooper, a 6'7 guard for the LA Lakers (my favorite pro team since Jerry West played for them and was their general manager for years....). Like Michael Cooper, Dashawn is a 6'7 guard who plays tenacious defense, rebounds, can shoot a 3 or drive the lane, is quicker than he is fast and, by pro standards, is quite thin. When I remembered that Dashawn was like Michael Cooper, I called my friend to tell him.

(OK, here's where non-basketball folks can come back....)

My friend answered the phone and I said, "Michael Cooper. That's who Dashawn is like. He CAN play pro ball...."

After a pause, my friend said, "do you know I almost broke my neck trying to get to the phone and all you have to say is 'Michael Cooper'?"

Well, that was pretty much the end of that. But here's what I've pondered since:
*all I did was make a phone call
*what I had to say, I thought, would be interesting to my friend here in the midst of March Madness--WVU won by 29 in the first round, by the way....
*I never told him he needed to almost break his neck to get to the phone--he has an answering service, let it pick up for goodness sake!

What I've pondered under my castor oil tree is this: how many times, in much more serious situations, do I blame others for my inconvenience, annoyance, near mishaps, etc., etc.....?

A lot I believe....and all they were trying to do was to be helpful or tell me something they thought I'd want to here or simply be a part of my life. And I blame them for my misery.

I should make a list and go apologize for all the times I can remember that I blamed someone else for my discomfort, confusion, pain, bad day.....

That might be worth pondering.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.