The Little Three

Tonight I’ll be joining our family in Buffalo, New York for the St. Bonaventure University vs Canisius College basketball game. This will be the second or maybe third time I have gone to a game at the Koessler Athletic Center where the Golden Griffins play their basketball games. It will be the first time I have attended with our entire family. Forty-one years ago I asked this lovely young woman to attend a St. Bonaventure vs Duquesne game and little did I realize where that date would lead. After a courtship of about eighteen months we were married and eventually had two children who accompanied us to Bonaventure games. Now the children are grown, married and have families of their own. Tonight we will be joined at the game by our daughter, her husband (Canisius graduate) and our grandson Edison. Our son Devin and grandson Myles will be there too. We’ll also be with our two newest grandchildren who are currently in utero. We don’t know if there are two boys, two girls or a boy and a girl but they’re going to be introduced to a “Little Three” rivalry which spans many years. We’re a basketball loving family and grateful to be together tonight.

Blue Cross Arena Hoops Classic

Tonight I’ll be joining my wife, son and grandson at the Roc City Hoops Classic. The matchup features the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. The Bonnies have been hot lately winning 10 of their last eleven games. We are season ticket holders and longtime St. Bonaventure fans. As I look forward to tonight’s game I thought of a night nearly thirty-nine years ago when I accompanied this lovely young lady to our first date which was a St. Bonaventure vs. Duquesne game. Now almost four decades later we’re going to be joining our son and grandson at the game.

It’s a new year and a new decade filled with lots of promise. While the outcome is far from certain there is one thing for sure and that is gratitude for this amazing journey of life. Bonaventure literally means “The Good Journey,” and our lives have certainly been that. The names change from year to year but the men in brown and white still exemplify the spirit of this small Franciscan University on the banks of the Allegany River that continues to draw a crowd at larger venues like Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.

Proud to be a St. Bonaventure Fan and Alumnus

Last night was tragic for St. Bonaventure University’s Men’s basketball post-season aspirations. The team came out flat against a very good and well coached Wagner College team. In October of last year while assessing St. Bonaventure’s basketball fortunes I told a friend that I didn’t think we’d have much to cheer about this year. I thought the team was undersized and under-manned. The bench was not deep and the tallest player on the team was merely 6’9″ and that young man was a freshman center. My assessment was very wrong. This year’s team led by Senior’s Dion Wright and Marcus Posley was the most exciting St. Bonaventure team I have watched in the past 37 years. Not since the days of Bob Lanier, Matt Gantt, Greg Gary and Billy Kalbaugh has the university fielded such a squad. Like their forbearers in the 1960’s this was a team of balanced scoring, intense defense and camaraderie that saw them grow with each game. Over the course of the season we were treated to some amazing finishes. The Bonnies excelled not just at home but were a tough road team too. They beat perennial powerhouses like St. Joe’s and Dayton. They nearly always found a way to win.

Those of us who live nearby the Reilly Center have been treated to incredible basketball experiences over the course of our lives. We take for granted that we have a Division 1 NCAA team in our backyard and this year was exceptional. The outcome last night was not what anyone of us wanted and especially the players and coaches. The likelihood that this spectacular season will be repeated next year, despite many returning starters is not a given. I continue to be amazed with the coaching ability of Mark Schmidt and with the limited resources of the University that such teams get fielded in the first place. I want to take this time to thank the St. Bonaventure Men’s basketball team, one and all for a fabulous season. Good luck and Godspeed in your future endeavors.

#Bonnies Make it to the NIT

I admit that I was disappointed that the St. Bonaventure University men’s basketball team didn’t get the nod from the NCAA selection committee tonight. It seems the process is skewed in favor of better television markets than those of Olean and Allegany, New York. Nonetheless,  the Bonnies made it as the number one seed at the NIT. There is no doubt that the NIT is a bit less prestigious but it’s chock full of very talented teams and there’s a good chance that if St. Bonaventure shows up with their “A” game that they can advance a couple of games. I’m an avid fan of St. Bonaventure Basketball and I only missed one home game this year. A longstanding commitment ensures that my string will be broken on Wednesday night when the team takes on Wagner College. I’ll be listening over the internet or trying to connect on ESPN3. I wish them the best.

I’ve been following St. Bonaventure basketball since the days fo Bob Lanier and this year’s team is among the best the university has fielded in that time. Last fall I told one of my friends that I didn’t expect much from this year’s team. Their lack of height and depth spelled trouble I thought. I was so wrong. This year’s team has played extremely well and they’ve provided those of us who attend their games lots of great moments. I wish them the best and thank them for all they’ve done to make our winter nights easier this season. Go Bonnies.

St. Bonaventure University Basketball Rocks the House

Last night our family attended the St. Bonaventure University vs. Canisius College men’s basketball game at The Reilly Center. We sat in Section 10 and had a birdseye view of the court. We participated in a rich tradition that spans decades. My Mom and Dad attended these games at the Olean Armory when I was a preschooler. I’ve been an active St. Bonaventure fan since the days of Bob Lanier, Billy Kalbaugh and Jim Satalin. My first time at the Reilly Center was in 1967, I saw Bonaventure beat Loyola of Chicago. Thirty-two years ago next month my wife and I came on our first date to a St. Bonaventure game at Reilly Center. Coming to St. Bonaventure games is sacramental. Last night as I sat with my father-in-law, wife, daughter Dara and her fiancée Shaun I felt a sense of gratitude and joy for our participation in this rich tradition. The appeal of the Bonnies is inter generational. My wife, daughter and I are all St. Bonaventure alumni too. That’s a point of pride for us. We’ve been treated to many great games over the years and last night’s game against Canisius was no exception. The cast of players changes each year but the mystique continues. Thank you to St. Bonaventure University their opponents the Canisius Golden Griffins and to the coaches for a wonderful evening of memories.

Alumni game

Today we followed our son Devin over to the campus of State University of New York College at Fredonia for the annual men’s basketball alumni game. The annual get together of coaches, parents, players and a few fans was enjoyable. It’s fun to watch our son’s compete and to renew acquaintances with parents and coaches who had such an influential role in our son’s life. As I watched Devin warm up for the game tears came to my eyes as I watched him 3 pointer after 3 pointer in the pregame warm-ups. Little did I realize that he would hit consecutive treys in the game, play a solid floor game and then can the winner for his mates to win 68-65 in the event. I’d have been happy too if the score were tied as it was at the end of regulation last year. It’s great just to see these young men in action again. Soon we’ll celebrate the fourth anniversary of Devin’s college graduation. Wow! Where did the time go? Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the game I captured with my Flip Camera.

Devin, Kevin and Kyle

Yesterday afternoon I was able to witness a great basketball game between the Blue Devils of Fredonia State and the Golden Eagles of Brockport State for the championship of the State University of New York Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball division. I spent much of four seasons following Devin, Kevin and Kyle around New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey as they competed for Fredonia State and though I didn’t always like the outcome I thoroughly enjoyed those times. Here they are seated in the front row.  Yesterday I was also able to join Kyle’s father John in the bleachers once more as we raised the decibel level at Laker Hall in Oswego cheering for the Blue Devils.

Brockport eventually prevailed but not before Fredonia gave them one heckuva’ game. Final score was 64-59 in a contest that saw Fredonia come back from two deficits of 17 points in the first half and 14 in the second half. With 1:31 left in the second half Brockport led by only three. Take nothing from either team though as the men from Fredonia State acquitted themselves well and the men from Brockport State gave us a clinic on quickness and outside shooting.

Congratulations to Coach Kevin Moore and the Fredonia State College Men’s Basketball team for a wonderful season at 18 wins and 9 losses and their first post-season appearance since 2003 and their first appearance in the conference finals since 1993. Go Blue Devils!

Sweet Victory

I’m in Oswego, New York this morning. I’m sitting at a Macintosh in the new campus center. I came here last night to watch the Fredonia State Blue Devils compete in the SUNYAC Men’s Basketball Championship. The Blue Devils prevailed in a close contest winning in the final 8.5 seconds on a driving layup by Junior guard, Brad Coooper.  I brought an overnight bag in case they  won and I got to use it. I stayed overnight at the Scottish Inn near the college. I’ve stayed there a number of times when our son Devin was playing for the Blue Devils. I miss seeing Devin play and wish that his basketball career could have lasted longer. I never would have thought that my allegiance to Fredonia State would have continued, but it has. I’ve been a member of the Fredonia Boosters since Devin was playing and I’ve continued my membership. 

I’m really delighted for the young men of this year’s squad and happy that they can be in today’s final game which will be played at Laker Hall on campus here at SUNY Oswego. This afternoon’s opponent for the Blue Devils will be SUNY Brockport. Brockport’s got a great team and they’ve prevailed against Fredonia in two earlier meetings this year. Nonetheless, whatever happens Fredonia State Head Coach Kevin Moore can take pride in his team’s accomplishments this season.

After last night’s game I text messaged my wife, my daughter Dara who is a Fredonia State Senior and my son Devin who is former Blue Devil player. We were all excited and happy for the team and especially for  Kevin Moore.  Like all coaches Kevin has had his ups and downs and I was happy to see him so elated with last night’s victory. I’m hoping that the Blue Devils can upset Brockport today, but even if they don’t I’m glad that I’m in Oswego this morning even though it is only 7 degrees above zero.  Life is never what we expect. It is full of pleasant surprises and ironies and this morning I’m sitting in a building that didn’t exist thirty-seven years ago when I was in the middle of my second semester at SUNY Oswego, but I’m in full sight of the campus that did, the dorm I lived in and the buildings in which I attended classes. Thirty-seven years ago I had no idea that I would be transformed from an Anthropology major to a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy in less than a year. In the ensuing thirty-seven years I would complete an enlistment in the U.S. Navy, meet a lovely young lady, get married, have two children, finish college, work in public school for over thirty years and be considered by some a geek. Those items weren’t on my plate or even in my imagination in February 1972. 

I’m trying to say that you ought never put limits on what can happen. Whatever God you believe in or don’t has plans for you. There is a force in the universe that works for good even though sometimes the good is hard to see.  I don’t know what today will bring but I’m going to try to be open. Openness and flexibility are the keys. Godspeed Fredonia State!

They sure as hell love each other

A tourist says to his guide, “You have a right to be proud of your town I was especially impressed with the number of churches in it. Surely the people here must love the Lord.” “Well,” replied the cynical guide, “”they may love the Lord, but they sure as hell hate each other.”–taken from “Selected Writings of Anthony De Mello.” by William Dych, SJ.

I’ve written before how much De Mello’s words touch me and this short story is a good one. How often do we hear of religious people full of intolerance for each other. This morning at Mass I witnessed an unusual event. Fr. Dan Riley, OFM who was our celebrant began the Eucharist this morning by inviting us to say our names and then told us that at some point during the liturgy we would break so that some late arriving guests could join us and then we’d sing “Happy Birthday” to one of them.

He began with the sign of the cross and then followed the Introit, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the first reading and the psalm, Following the psalm, Fr. Dan heard the guests arrive and then he walked out of the chapel to greet them. As we sat there waiting for the Mass to resume I thought of how much Fr. Dan’s actions were like those of Jesus. He didn’t wait for them to come to him, but went to them, met them when they were still aways off and brought them into our midst and then we sang Happy Birthday to Maurice. Dan’s actions speak louder than any words he could have spoken this morning. He was Christ to us and to the late arriving guests. The love in the chapel was palpable this morning and it touched us all.

The guest was St. Bonaventure University basketball player, Maurice Thomas, and his family. We all got to meet Maurice and his family and we all experienced love first hand. There was much love there this morning and its an event I won’t soon forget.

Gus Macker Tournament

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This weekend our family spent much of the weekend in Hornell, New York at the annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. Our son Devin has competed in many of these events over the past ten to twelve years. This weekend Devin’s team finished third in the Top Mens Division. His teammates included Jeff Haskell, Jason Luther and Bob Gibbs. This video taken from the second game on Saturday features Devin and his teammates along with our neighbor Ben Kopp who was on the opposing team. In fact this game featured neighbors and relatives playing against each other. This weekend was a lot of fun watching lots of talented players compete.
I took the video with my Canon ZR200 camera and edited it on Ubuntu 7.10 using Kino. Kino works well with