Monday, May 18, 2009

Wayman Tisdale. I like the name 'Wayman'...

The ball kept bouncing on the rim.

Dallas. Reunion Arena. March, 1985. NCAA Midwest Regional Semi-Finals.

Oklahoma All-American Wayman Tisdale shot a little floater in the lane with about five seconds left, maybe seven. Game tied against Louisiana Tech, led by Karl Malone and Wayne Smith, Willie Bland and Robert Godbolt and Willie Simmons...The Bulldogs had wiped out Pittsburgh and Ohio State in the first and second rounds. They'd lost twice in the season, once to Oklahoma and Tisdale.

And they'd lose again on this afternoon. Final, 86-84. Had they won, Tech felt it matched up good against Memphis in the finals. Instead, Memphis beat Oklahoma and went to the Final Four, a Final Four Villanova won with the gigantic upset of Georgetown.

Few realize how close Tech came to "being" Villanova that year. But Tisdale...

The ball kept bouncing on the rim. I was courtside writing and the play was to our left. The ball kept bouncing on the rim, and guys would jump to tip or rebound but it would bounce again...It was like the play was in slow motion and the arena grew quiet with each bounce...

Six seconds...Bounce....Five seconds...bounce .... Four seconds ... bounce....

I remember writing that the ball had completely fallen out of the cylinder, it seemed, but grew tiny leather basketball hands and pulled itself back -- and into the net.

Oklahoma up by 2, one second left.

A timeout gave Tech the ball just over halfcort and an inbounds from Smith toward Malone under the goal -- Malone jumped and two guys were on him and the ball bounced away and the game was over.

If Tisdale's shot had just swished, Tech would have had five or six seconds for a play.

Tisdale's death last week from cancer brought back this memory and many others of that game and of Tisdale, who everyone says was a wonderful person, besides being a NBA veteran of a dozen years and an accomplished musician. His smile was big and "The Shot" was big against Tech.

I've always blamed Robert Godbolt for that Tech loss. A workmanlike and underrated player on that Tech team, Godbolt could have won the game in regulation for Tech -- but he missed a jumper at the buzzer...From 65 feet.


Friday night went to a party at Cypress Inn where my sister's family was celebrating Bishop's graduation -- from kindergarten! Glad I went. Got to see momma and Don and the whole gang, everyone but Cody. Stopped back by my little sister's where they were frying fish for Aunt Willie's birthday, a celebration that had to be rescheduled from a couple of weeks before, not because Aunt Willie's birthday had moved, but because Jeeves, our fish fryer, had taken sick that day. Got home and walked a lot and read and couldn't go to sleep until 5. Just one of those deals; couldn't stop writing and when I could I couldn't sleep so I kept reading and writing. (This piece of a devotional will help with my sleep woes, which are getting less and less. It's a prayer: "Help me to rest. Guard my time and help me manage my responsibilities so that I can renew myself emotionally, spiritually, and psychically each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen." That's helped, and this too: "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalms 62:1. ... I keep getting reminded of stuff while I'm trying to get out of this paragraph! -- You ever heard "You Are My Hiding Place" by Selah? Good stuff. Listen again if you haven't in a while...OK, closing the parentheses and moving on...)

Up a little after 7 and read and studied and wrote a lot Saturday. Washed clothes, went to the cleaners, went to the store, cleaned house, worked out, met my friends for decaf at Starbucks -- Thumbs had earned his black belt in Bossier City that afternoon! -- and went back home in Saturday evening's big big rain. Going to sleep Saturday night wasn't as hard.

Church and Sunday school Sunday and chicken at Tick's and reading and working out and the children's musical Sunday night. I don't know how they get those musicals put together with children but it was spectacular; those things are always better than you think they're going to be. So I did that and walked and read. And I'm into Total cereal now. Who knew?

Finished a couple of books and got halfway through with Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson. Good stuff. I'm learning.

Hope you have a wonderful week.