And a Happy Friday to all of you, and IT’S MARCH, BABY!!!!
Sorry. I get a little excited when March rolls around, because it means college basketball tournament season is here and I get more than a little excited.
March is also one of the times of the year I moonlight in my old job as a sportswriter, and this week I’ve had the good fortune of being at the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament here at Madison Square Garden. (Why is the Big Ten tournament being held here, instead of Indianapolis or Chicago where it normally is? Money, of course. But I don’t care, I get to see great basketball and get paid for it.)
It’s been a great time and it’s given me a great hook for my first good news story of the week, from Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register.
The University of Iowa has a player named Josh Bohannon. He’s a sophomore, a really good player, and he’s particularly good at free throws.
Bohannon had made 34 free throws in a row when he stepped to the line late in a game on Feb. 25 against Northwestern. That number was important, because when he got to 34, Bohannon had tied an Iowa school record held by a kid named Chris Street.
Street was a native Iowan and local legend, and on Jan. 16, 1993 Street played with the Hawkeyes against Duke.
Three days later, Street was tragically killed in a car accident.
Bohannon grew up in Iowa, too, knew all about the legend of Chris Street, and since becoming a part of the Iowa team he’s gotten to know Street’s parents, Mike and Patty.
So on Feb. 25, having made 34 consecutive free throws to tie Street’s school record, Bohannon stepped to the foul line with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining with Iowa leading, 73-65. He left the shot short, off the front rim, and pointed to the sky.
What a good kid. He’s so kind,” Patty Street said. “That was so special that he thought of Christopher and that record.”
Here’s what Bohannon said after the game.
A beautiful gesture by a kid who didn’t want to see his name ahead of Street’s in the record book. Really, really sweet.
**Next up today, it was recently the 50th anniversary of the start of one of the most beloved television programs in history, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
By all accounts, Fred Rogers was one of the kindest, most humble people who ever lived. He entertained millions of us with his words of wisdom, his gentle being, and his smile (Quick aside: I’ve been thinking about Rogers a lot more the last few months because our 3-year-old’s favorite TV show these days is “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” a direct and approved descendant of the original show.)
To celebrate Mister Rogers’ anniversary, Upworthy.com pointed me to this story about why Mister Rogers always made a point to tell the audience he was feeding his fish.
It goes back to a blind little girl, a letter, and a man who always kept his word. Such a great story.
**And finally, a beautiful essay from a son to his Mama. I’ve extolled the brilliant writing of Tommy Tomlinson on this blog before, and he’s forced me to highlight him again with this wonderful essay about his mother, who just passed.
A quick excerpt, but really you should read the whole thing:
I am 54, leaning toward her in her hospital bed. This is January, a week or two before she died, and she can’t hear what I’m saying. I’ve got that soft voice, and she’s 85 and left her one working hearing aid back at the nursing home. I keep trying to talk to her and she keeps cocking her head, not understanding, and finally I break down in anger and frustration and grief. She is dying. We all know it. But she reaches out and comforts me. She says how she wishes she had been able to do more for her children, had been able to take us more places, but there was never enough money, and she always had to work.
I don’t want to argue with her, and she can’t hear me anyway. But in my mind I say: No. You don’t understand. You did everything. You’re doing it right now.