THEY LOVE THE GAME
Recently, we returned from one of our basketball junkets; something my oldest grandson and I have been doing since he was about 10 years old. He and I go to Indiana during the Christmas holiday season to see some high school and college basketball games. In this junket, we “only” got to see fifteen games. That’s fifteen games in three days.
Being from Indiana, over the years, I have been a witness to and have heard many stories that illustrated how much people in Indiana have a love and a passion for the game of basketball. I was once told the following story.
In 1978, Indiana State University was hosting Wichita State, and the game was the first game to be nationally televised featuring the legendary Larry Bird. Al McGuire and his cohorts would be broad-casting the game on a prime time, major TV network. A few hours before game time, a major snow storm set in over Terre Haute, Indiana, where the game was to be played. Snow began to accumulate on the roof of the ISU arena, and the roof began to leak down on the playing floor. Big problem!
If this snow continued and the roof kept leaking, it could hamper the playing of the game. A couple hours before tip-off, the problem was announced over the arena’s loudspeakers. Another announcement followed, “At this time, we are asking for volunteers to go to the roof of the arena and help with the snow removal.” Yes, you heard me, “Go to the roof and help with the snow removal. Hey, folks, it isn’t 70 degrees outside. Have you ever been on top of a tall building, wind blowing, a shovel in hand and throwing snow off the roof? It was the dead of winter and they are asking for volunteers to do that? Are they nuts?
Within ten minutes of that announcement, a second announcement was made; “We no longer need any more volunteers to help with the snow removal. We now have enough help.”
The snow was removed, the storm lessened and the ball was in the air at the scheduled tip-off time. Folks in Indiana like their basketball, and they will go to great lengths to see that it is played.
Al McGuire - “I had heard folks in Indiana loved basketball but this is truly amazing. Maybe even crazy."
January 2, 2009