Thursday, March 03, 2011

Tyler Trapani and Divine Intervention

Someone stole my Sunday papers from my front porch this past weekend.

This was a reasonably disruptive act to my weekend schedule. That morning, we were hosting a brunch with other families, and in between kids running all over the house and trying to serve food and conduct adult conversations, I was also multitasking repeated rounds of phone calls to automated services, navigating their arcane menu-driven hierarchies to request replacement papers, and getting reassurances that "a new paper will be delivered within (inhuman robot tone) forty-five minutes. Thank you for your call."

Forty-five minutes came and went. I called again. And another forty-five minutes came and went.

And I'm sure I wasn't a very good host, being preoccupied with one ear listening for a fateful knock at the front door. Finally, one paper came: the LA Times. At least I got my coupons, I suppose. Hours later, the second paper (the NY Times) came--by the same delivery guy, no less, who at this point was pretty pissed off that he had to make a return visit and interrupt his Sunday lunch. But finally, I was whole.

By this time, however, the last day of the weekend was already in full swing; I had finished cleaning dishes and was now preparing the family for our next social engagement. No time to read the papers, at this point. So I read them last night.

I realize the LAT's Bill Plaschke has already written about this. ESPN.com already picked up the AP story on this. It's been written: Tyler Trapani, great grandson of UCLA legend John Wooden, scored the last basket at Pauley Pavilion, the arena where Wooden won his 10 championships, before they raze the building and build a new, modern Pauley Pavilion.

Trapani is a junior walk-on who had not scored in three years, until this game. Unbelievable.

The clip below has UCLA coach Ben Howland on the post-game interview, talking about how this moment gave him chills and brought tears to his eyes:

If you watch the clip and the play itself (they cut to the action at around 0:44), you can't help but see Trapani down at the bottom of the screen and think, "what the hell is he doing?" Trapani is an undersized guard, yet he moves to sneak under the basket to a low-percentage position on a three-point attempt by Jack Haley.

Haley, a freshman who also doesn't get a lot of playing time, airballed. Trapani, standing right underneath the hoop, stood unguarded. He caught the ball and put it right back in, for a two-point basket. And that closed the books on Pauley.

Watch the clip. I can't recall ever seeing a chain of unlikely events happen in that sort of sequence, to ultimately provide an emotional outcome like that. Immaculate Receptions happen, I know. But Immaculate Receptions to walk-ons with historic significance to set a symbolic punctuation mark in history? It has to be divine intervention.

Reading about it in the LAT came four days late, but hey, I'll take it. The LAT served as a nice complement to a play that I was lucky enough to see on television--another Son happened to be at the game, but it wasn't Sax--and the late receipt allowed me a second chance to fully reflect on the play's true awesomeness later.

As an aside, I also read the New York Times' Sunday Sports section (more on this later). Nice to see that they were paying attention, too (read the entry beside then-#10 Arizona):

Sheesh.

Wooden/Trapani photo by Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press; NYT on patio table photo by SoSG Sax

4 comments:

Fred's Brim said...

I wish I could have gotten to Pauley at some point.

In fact, for the amount of college basketball I watch, I havent been to very many arenas. hmmm I need to correct that

Steve Sax said...

I think new Pauley will be great, should they find the rest of the money they need....

@FB, for my money I would go to different baseball fields rather than basketball arenas.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Oh my God, why don't you start a UCLA blog and report their news on that blog.

Neeebs said...

I thought this was a UCLA blog.

*class of 84*