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Four years of scurrying around the buildings and grounds of this University allowed me time to view more than my share of varsity basketball games. Yet whenever I made the trek to the top floor of the IAB, the contest's outcome was too predictable.
If Harvard was playing a good team, like a Penn, a Princeton or a Boston College, it would invariably lose. If it was playing a mediocre team, like just about anyone else that might happen to be on the schedule, it might lose.
Take Friday night, for instance. Opposing what hardly rates as the best Princeton squad of recent vintage, the Crimson played the visitors even for the first half and then wilted in the end. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing new.
Since the Tigers had already fallen twice this season to the Pennsylvania squad that dribbled into Cambridge Saturday night, there was no reason to expect Harvard to give the Quakers a good ballgame. Let alone win it, which, to everyone' surprise, the Crimson did, 93-87.
But why in heaven's name on the lone occasion in four years when I would have wanted to be at courtside was I off watching Humphrey Bogart films?
"And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?"
"My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
"What waters? We're in the desert."
"I was misinformed."
To say that I was perturbed at myself for missing the best game of my undergraduate career after witnessing all those abominations would be quite an understatement. You might say I despised myself.
"You despise me, don't you?"
"Well, if I gave you any thought I probably would."
Of all the times to be in the IAB, I was in the science center.
"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, and she walks into mine."
The more I think of it, the more upset I get. Well, maybe the hoopsters will play like that again.
"You played it for her. You can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can Play it!"
I must confess, though, that upon hearing the final score, I had to wonder whether this was the same Harvard basketball team I had watched these past few years.
"Who are you really? What were you before? What did you do and what did you think? Huh?"
Well, here's looking forward to more performances like the one Saturday night.
"Here's looking at you, kid."
If Harvard ever plays like that again, and I'm not there to see it, you know I'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life.
"If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life."
And if Coach Frank McLaughlin can continue to inspire such stellar performances from his cagers, I can safely say, Frank, that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
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