Bumped from a fan post. And, as a huge Springsteen fan, I don't think any apologies are necessary! - BN Ed.
Last night we lingered. We usually exit Pauley Pavilion to get to the car as quickly as possible. But last night was special. So, we hung around awhile. We sat and listened to the band. And to the end of the interview with Jaime Jaquez. Mick Cronin came out to applause. Earlier, just after the final buzzer, Coach Cronin walked over to the student section and shared the victory with them. There’s something happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear….but it’s good.
My first game as a Bruin fan was as an 8 year old and it was at the Long Beach Arena. The Bruins featured Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich. They were undefeated and playing a Creighton team led by Paul Silas. Our Bruins didn’t lose a single game that year on the way to its first National Championship. I was at Pauley Pavilion when it first opened. I saw the Freshman Team led by Kareem beat the Varsity that was defending National Champions. The 4 letters have always been special to me.
So, we lingered last night. We saw Jake Kyman and Jaime Jaquez do interviews. We saw them greet family and friends for a few hugs and then head off to the locker room. And then, lo and behold, they came back out. They were still in uniform and still sporting the 4 letters. They signed a few autographs and took selfies with some fans and some children. They were basking in the moment. They weren’t hotdogging. They weren’t pounding their chests. They were quietly celebrating with those that hung around.
That’s my memory from last night. It reminded me of an average, high school basketball player, 48 years ago who almost blew a game in overtime on the road. And then, he got a little redemption by hitting both ends of a 1 plus 1 with 3 seconds left to secure a 1 point victory. Certainly, it was a meaningless game, but games aren't meaningless to players. Those memories made with your teammates never die. Jaime and Jake will ALWAYS have this game to remember. So, while I will certainly remember Jake’s remarkable display in the first half and Jaime’s clutch shot at the end, the endearing memory might just be 2 college athletes savoring their accomplishments and being great representatives of the 4 letters.