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The Hoop God

T.D.'s Extra Point

By Theodore D. Chuang

Saturday morning, somewhere up above, the Hoop God was presiding over the Great Basketball Court In the Sky, receiving reports from his earthly representatives. The angel responsible for the Ivy League, Angel Isiah Moses, came to the throne.

"What news from the Ancient Eight?" the Hoop God asked.

"O Skywalking One, Princeton has beaten Dartmouth. Penn edged Harvard by two points. It looks as if the Tigers will win the title again," he said.

"Excellent!" the Hoop God exulted. "My brother, Pete Carril, will enjoy another trip to the NCAA tournament. But Isiah Moses, you do not appear pleased. What troubles you?"

"O Airborne One, I do not wish to incur your wrath," the angel stammered, "but I feel that you have been too harsh on the Crimson."

"Too harsh?" the Hoop God asked.

"Well, first there were the defeats by Brown and Cornell. And last night, allowing that prayer by Paul Chambers to fall, after they had fought back so valiantly," Isiah Moses said. "I know they have not put forth the greatest efforts early in their games, but surely the Harvard players deserved better?"

"You know Princeton has to win the title. It has been dictated," the Hoop God said.

"Yes, O Master of Hang Time, but what about poor Ralph James?" Isiah Moses asked. "You have only allowed him to shoot 9-for-40 over the last two games. Only 1-for-19 on three pointers. Surely you have proven your point."

"He was rising above human levels with his 41 points against Penn. His hubris had to be answered," The Hoop God explained.

"And the rest of the team?" Isiah Moses asked. "The captains, Gilly and Schernecker. They have done everything they could to get this team into a title race, and you let Jerry Simon hit everything over Gilly last night."

"Yes, I see your point," the Hoop God sighed, "What do you suggest, good Isiah Moses?"

"Allow the Crimson to have a satisfying game against Princeton to end their home schedule," the angel said. "Let the crowd be large, almost 3000 people. Have them even sit behind the baskets and try to distract the opposing foul shooters, as they have not done throughout the season."

"That could be arranged," the Hoop God said.

"Permit the seniors, especially Brian Mackey and Steve Bowsher, to start the game and keep the team close during their stint," the angel continued. "and unlike last night, allow Harvard to finish the first half with a flourish."

"You mean have them go on, say, a 16-3 run to cut a large deficit to, say, two points?" the Hoop God suggested.

"Yes, O Gravity-Defying One. But could you also allow their new match-up zone defense to be successful?" Isiah Moses asked. "And permit them to take control in the second half?"

"Well, how about if I let Fred Schernecker hit two straight three pointers. And maybe even a two-pointer, too?" the Hoop God suggested. "I could lift the curse on James and let the fellow score eight straight points late in the half."

"That would be wonderful, O Levitating One," the angel said.

"And I could let James steal the ball and throw a touchdown pass to young Tyler Rullman for a three-point play to seal the victory," the Hoop God said, getting into it. "Then Coach Roby could jump around on the sidelines, pump his fist to the band--all the things he's always wanted to do."

"It would mean so much to them," the angel said with a hopeful look.

"Well, they haven't quit all season long, and the home finale should be special for the seniors," the Hoop God said slowly. "and my brother Peter could use a beating every once in a while...Yes, I think I'll do that."

"Oh, thank you, O Bird-like One. They will be so pleased," the angel said. "but what of next year's Ivy League title?"

"We shall see, O Angel, We shall see."

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