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.

Where to begin

I haven’t been doing much if any blogging lately.  I’ve been too busy and mostly without words or the willingness to write anything down. Yesterday, Dara Maria graduated from State University of New York at Fredonia. I am so proud of her, she finished Summa Cum Laude.  She’s a very bright, classy young lady with a bright future and like her father, she’s an idealist.  I think being an idealist is important for teachers.  Ever since I returned from my southern trip last month I’ve been in a very introspective and contemplative mood. I’ve found a great deal to be excited about besides Dara too. I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs, reading blogs everyday, posting to Facebook and taking lots of digital images. Most of them have been with my Blackberry cameras, but still taking pictures and being as much alive as ever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Thomas Merton and how his journey and mine are parallel though vastly different. A friends Facebook post led me to a Merton quote from “Rain and the Rhinoceros.”

The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!  Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.”–Thomas Merton

I love to listen to the rain and we had some more of it last night. It was a perfect setting for contemplation. In fact I live on our enclosed porch. Nearly every waking hour I spend here except for when I’m at work or eating dinner with my wife. I spend my time in this hermitage that’s set apart from the rest of our home.

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!

Devin on “D”

Devin on “D”

Devin was guarding a couple of big guys today and Jon Burgio was one of them. Jon is a recent graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and in addition to being tall and powerfully built is a good post player.  Devin at 6’3″ gave away six inches and almost 150 pounds to this guy. Devin’s team lost a close game 15-14 as time ran out. Overall their Gus Macker record at the Jamestown tournament was 3-2. It was great to see these young men in action again and to share a pre-game meal with them and Tim Anderson’s parents at the Cherry Lounge on Cherry Street in Jamestown, New York. It was 88 degrees at game time and very humid. Diane and I’ve been following basketball games ever since our first date and we’ve been following Devin since he was in grade school basketball leagues. I’ve written about Devin many times and I’m very proud of what he has accomplished both on and off the basketball court.

Today it was great to be united with these special young men and several of the parents. Today was one of the days I was glad to be alive.

Alumni game

Yesterday we drove to Fredonia, New York and the campus of the State University at Fredonia. Dods Hall was the site of this year’s alumni game which featured many of Fredonia States former basketball stars including our son Devin. The age of the players spanned at least twenty years. It was fun to watch Devin and his former teammates racing up and down the floor. There were layups, short jumpers, hooks and three pointers and when it was over it actually ended in an 84-84 tie. I’ve never seen a basketball game end in a tie, but this time it seemed fitting. It’s been a couple of years since we were regulars at Fredonia State games.

Besides the players it was reunion time for parents. We visited with old friends. Friends we don’t see much anymore but nonetheless just as dear. After the game we gathered at a local restaraunt for more socializing. Our first date over twenty-seven years ago was a basketball game. Basketball is sacramental for us.