Years ago, I don’t want to say the date...

Another America

Dan Austin

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Years ago, I don’t want to say the date because then I’ll sound like those people talking about the “old days”. This isn’t about the “old days”; it’s about a game that the Jazz played to perfection against Seattle... and lost. They were a force of nature and had total unified teamwork that day. Absolute textbook as to how the game should be played. Especially, Malone and Stockton - amazing what those two guys could do - Stockton as a Point Guard and Malone the best Power Forward ever! But that night the Sonics were better. It’s hard for me to even say it out loud but it’s the truth. They were meeting my guys as total equals on the court. The score may have been close, but close or not, 88-86 - the Jazz lost. I was devastated. When my Dad tells this story he says I was in engulfed in tears. I don’t remember that though. Jared was sad but being too young he wasn’t as seriously upset as I was. I think he was only acting upset because I was upset and I’ve always been a role model for him - in case you couldn’t already tell that. Besides as thin as Jared is he can always be easily distracted by one more chili dog. But a chili dog wasn’t going to do it for me. I felt like something had died within me. I mean if you work really hard shouldn’t you get what you’re working toward? Shouldn’t the work get you that reward? Shouldn’t that be part of the deal? While Dad & Jared were eating their last chili dogs of the day - I snuck back into the Delta Center and saw Stockton & Malone alone on the court practicing their legendary volleys - moving together and tossing the ball - supporting their imaginary teammates. You see in basketball - there are some guys that enable their teammates to do their best, to make the points, to win the game. Anyway, there they were, Malone & Stockton alone without the crowd cheering them on - and they still were doing it - with an intensity of purpose to just get it right, and to get it right that night and not go home until they could make things perfect. It should be perfect and it was perfect but outside forces during the game that night got in the way On its own: perfection, but in reality? It wasn’t. They had to make things right.

[THEY are back on their bikes.]

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