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March 31, 2006

Final Four Flashback

In honor of UCLA’s appearance in the Final Four this weekend, I’d like to tell a story about the last time the Bruins made a run to the National Championship in 1995.

One of the stars on that ’95 team was a point guard named Tyus Edney, who single-handedly saved the season with a length-of-the-court drive to make the winning basket as time expired in a second-round game, giving UCLA a 1-point victory to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

I wasn’t friends with Tyus, but during the spring of 1993 he and I sat next to each other in an introductory speech class. We sat in the back of the room, and neither of us was exactly passionate about public speaking, or paying attention to others who were.

We killed time by reading books during class (I know, I know…it’s irresponsible and disrespectful, but believe me, this class was boooorrrrring.), and we noted with amusement one time that we were both reading the same book, Jurassic Park.

Seeing that I was further along than him, I broke the ice by asking if he had come to the part where the kids die yet (note: they never died, but he didn’t know that). That led to casual conversations before and after class each day.

Those led to another day when I leaned over and told him, “I find that whenever I have to make a game-winning shot, a running one-handed hook shot off the glass seems to work well for me.” Little did I know he would take my words to heart in the ’95 NCAA Tournament.

OK, I made up that last paragraph. But the rest of the story is true.

The funny thing is, I had forgotten all about Tyus Edney and most of the 1995 Bruins until just this month. Then UCLA makes the Final Four again and I remember all of these random, fleeting associations I had with the team, and it brings back fun memories of college in vivid detail - like it hasn't really been more than a decade since I was there.

It’s just one of the many things I love about sports. And it’s why I’ll be watching again this weekend. Go Bruins!

2 comments:

matt 3/31/06, 10:07 PM  

that should be an interesting matchup with the tigers. i hope you enjoy your game tomorrow.

if memory serves me correct, i think your team beat my team (UConn) in the elite 8 that year to get to the final four (bastards!) :)

matt 4/2/06, 1:45 PM  

you must be in heaven today, Donald! can you remember a defense allowing so few points during the tourney? it's amazing :)

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