Friday, February 26, 2010

Something Warm, for a Change

Warren Sparrow checks in with a heart warming true adventure.... (Photo lifted from the movie "HOOSIERS" -Ed)

I hope you like this story as much as we enjoyed living it. -Warren

Yesterday Becky and I went to see our grandson Warren's middle school (Wiley MS 8th graders) basketball game. The game was played at Jefferson Middle School. Jefferson was undefeated. Wiley, Warren's team, had lost one game. Wiley took an early lead, about 10 points at the half, against a bigger team. The Jefferson team cut the lead to two or four by the end of the third quarter, The crowd was very excited and loud, naturally pulling for the home team. Midway through the fourth quarter Jefferson pulled ahead. Wiley was on the ropes. It looked like the home team was on the way to victory.

Then an amazing thing happened. One of the Wiley stars tried to take over the game. He dribbled around, juked his man and drove for the basket. He was clobbered on the way to the goal, sprawling on the floor. Time out. The Wiley coach took him out and replaced him with the smallest kid on the team. By rule every player on the team must play in every game. Honoring this rule, the Wiley coach took out the star who appeared to be hurt and put this little kid into the game for the first time. Mind you, this kid usually plays less than 60 seconds.

To make things more strange, the Wiley coach tried to get his No. 1 star on the foul line for the critical free throws. The Jefferson coach smelled a rat and complained to the officials. He was right, of course. So, the refs told Star No. 1 to step aside. The crowd roared its approval.

Up stepped the little kid who had not played more than five minutes all season. The yelling intensified as the child got the ball from the referee. The kid dribbled a couple of times and shot. The ball skimmed the front of the rim and dropped cleanly through the basket. Now Wiley was one point behind. The ref handed the ball to the kid again. He shot. It was instant replay. Kerplunk. The child whose coach did not want him to shoot the foul shots made them both and tied the game. I almost cried.

The Jefferson players never recovered. Wiley won the game. It was a wonderful thing for our gang. You should have been there. It was just like that Gene Hackman movie...only we were there.

Thank you for listening. Like Dean Martin sang, "Memories are made of this." May the lord bless everybody, particularly those little kids who are not good enough to play in the games.

Joyfully yours,


Terrific! Thanks Warren.  We're still looking for more true don't be shy....chime in with a story of your own....or whatever.....this is an equal opportunity website!!!  -Ed

UPDATE:  The Rest of the Story

Allow me to revisit the "Hoosiers" piece. In light of Butler's near-miraculous last-second shot against Duke, we are reminded of the Gene Hackman movie which you mentioned in my story about our grandson's basketball game last month. In the movie as well as in our grandson's game, both teams came from behind and won. In the Butler/Duke game, the underdog's last-second shot failed. Bad theater but good for us Duke fans. Listen to this....

The 2010 Butler team plays in the gym where "Hoosiers" was filmed. This is the same gym where the real game was played years before the movie was made. The real Hickory High was in fact Milan High. The big school was Muncie Central. Milan won on a last-second shot.

Here is, with all due respect to Paul Harvey, "the rest of the story." For the 1958-9 basketball season I was the basketball "color" announcer for the Duke campus radio station. Jim Faris, one of my fraternity brothers, was the play-by-play man. At the time of Milan's improbable victory, Jim was living in Indiana. Not only was he living in Indiana, he was a student at Muncie Central. Not only was he a student at Muncie Central but he was at the game when Milan beat Muncie Central.

Had that last Butler shot beat Duke, I am sure Jim would have croaked. Me too.

Jim has been practicing law in the DC area. He has retired, He and his wife Joan are moving to Indiana. I guess you can go home again.