Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Louie Louie

So last weekend I was in Las Vegas, on someone else' s dime, to watch the Adidas Super 64, a huge tournament to showcase the nation's best high school ballers. It was a great weekend of work and pleasure, mostly work. While watching some 18 year old phenom flying above the rim, I noticed my old buddy Louis Orr in the stands.

Louie was a standout forward for the Syracuse Orangemen and later went on to play for the NY Knicks. He is now the head basketball Coach for Bowling Green.

I went up to the bleachers and said hello to Louie. Told him I was Syracuse alumni and he couldn't have been happier to see me. I asked his assistant coach to take a photo of Louie and myself with my iPhone. He snapped a couple of pics. This guy might know his X's and O's but hours later, I was to find out he didn't know anything about technology. He failed to hit the Click button.

So I don't have any pictures of me and Louie. But I do have a favorite memory.

Like most athletes, Louie tried to build a curricula of the easiest classes. Come to think of it, I was guilty of the same offense. We sat next to each other in a class on Public Speaking. It was known on campus as the easiest of A's. Each week the students were to prepare a speech and present it before the class. That was it. Do twelve 2 minute speeches, get three credits towards a sheepskin.

As a former class clown, the class was a bit of a cakewalk for me. The same cannot be said for Louie and the other football and basketball players taking the course. They were always being reprimanded by the professor and told NOT to do speeches that involved sports, sporting events or anything that even had the word sports in it.

On his last speech of the class, Louie started strong. He was telling the gripping story of his aunt and her ongoing battle with cancer. He drew the crowd in with a sweet anecdote about how she cooked Sunday dinners. He tugged at the heartstrings with the details of her disease. He stirred the emotions with the tale of her bravery through painful and often harrowing treatments.

But then he blew the ending.

"The way she fought back and overcame the obstacles in her life reminded me of the time we were in North Carolina. It was the second half and we were down 13 points. Our 2-3 zone wasn't working and the Coach decided to go man to man with a full court press..."

Louie still got an A in Public Speaking, but I was happy to see he made a successful career for himself in basketball.

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