‘MERRY CHRISTMAS: I CAN’T GET ANY WORSE” — entry #12 from “A history of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-Ball season …

Posted on Dec 18, 2012

… AS CHRONICLED BY, AND WITH THE PERSONAL MEMOIRS + OCCASSIONAL PHILOSOPHIZING OF THE AUTHOR, ONE STEPHEN J. McKEE”

This CENTAUR SEASONS post was written on December 18, 1972.

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 72, Philly Bible 79, two days ago

NEXT GAME: at Baptist Bible, January 18, 1973

CENTAUR SEASON: 2-3

It’s like starting all over again. After the game Coach gave me a talkin’ to. He said I’m too nice a guy out on the court. I don’t have the killer instinct. I don’t want the ball. He says he doesn’t want me to be a nice guy out on the court. He wants me to want the ball.

He’s right.

All my life I’ve been told to be more aggressive under the boards, on defense, when getting the ball. What’s the matter with me? Coach said he wants me to have a dark streak up my back when I play. (He quickly added – “not that you have a yellow one now.”) I better change. I gotta want the ball. Tonight at practice for the first time I was really tired the whole time. I wait for the play to come to me. Why? Why don’t I go to the ball, to the play? Why?

I’ve got to change. … I’ve got to get better. … I can’t get any worse.

We have two more practices before the Christmas break. Tomorrow and next day.  Over the break I plan to play with the York Catholic High School team — if they’ll have me — where I didn’t play basketball when I was in high school.  I was planning on taking it easy, take time off, give my double-sprained ankle from the Eastern game a break, but I don’t think I can. I gotta learn it all over again! Then after the new year we’ll be back up here three/four days a week for practice — great time! — till January 18 when we play Baptist Bible up at there place near Scranton and then the next day back-to-back it’s Wilmington College at home — our schedule suddenly an NBA schedule! — first day of second semester.  So we didn’t go into the break at 3-2, on the winning side. We can be 4-3, on the winning side, the first day of the new semester.

But right now it is one week to Christmas. One more exam, a few days to hang out here, then  “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Decorate the tree, Midnight Mass, dinner with the Philbins, the whole bit. Till then. Merry Christmas.

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 72, Philadelphia Bible College 79, two days ago

NEXT GAME: Baptist Bible College, January 18

1972-73 CENTAUR SEASON Schedule and Results:

12/1  — at Lehigh CCC — W/81-71 — 1-0

12-4 — at Northampton CCC — W/87-50 — 2-0

12-6  — EASTERN BAPTIST — L/73-75 — 2-1

12-12 — SPRING GARDEN — L/54-66 — 2-2

12-16 — PHILLY BIBLE — L/72-79 — 2-3

1-18   — at Baptist Bible

1-19  — WILMINGTON

1-25  — at Philly Pharmacy

1-30  — at Spring Garden

2-3   — at Messiah College

2-6   — at  Wilmington

2-13  — RUTGERS, S. JERSEY

2-16  — LEHIGH CCC

2-20  — MESSIAH

2-22  — NORTHAMPTON CCC

2-24  — PHILLY PHARMACY

2-27  — BAPTIST BIBLE

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Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS: A ‘memory blog’ of the basketball beginnings of a half-good, half-bad, all-new college team.

Once, I was a Centaur.

I played basketball for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pa. I was on four of the school’s first seven teams, was MVP senior year and in 1974 graduated in the fifth class.

My junior year I kept a diary: A History of the Events of the 1972-1973 Allentown College B-Ball Season, as Chronicled by, and With the Personal Memoirs + Occassional [sic] Philosophizing of the Author, One Stephen J. McKee.  One-hundred-forty-five hand-writ pages. (Yes, I was an English major.)

But it occurs to me now: Were I today a “Bulldog” playing for “DeSales University” (both mascot and name changed in 2000), my private “History” would be not a diary but a blog.

So starting November 30  “…Personal Memoirs…” will be re-imagined as CENTAUR SEASONS

A blog before its time, posted 40 years after in real time.

Meanwhile, beginning on September 24, here at CENTAUR SEASONS the preseason has already tipped off, with stories, interviews and reminiscences of the people, the place and the purpose of those early years of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales.

Check back often. Sign up for CentaurSeasonAlerts. Email CENTAUR SEASONS to friends.

We were not a bad team, we Centaurs. We just weren’t very good. Winning was always the goal, if never exactly the point. How could it be, with victories so few?

Back then Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales was a couple of buildings in some cornfields.  Our commitment to the school’s basketball program was far greater than was the school’s commitment us. So what? We got to play college ball – and paid for the privilege! In return, we got to be part of a team, wear the red and blue, be Centaurs. And we got to create a place that was, right then, as much concept as it was college, making itself up as we went along.

What we got was a once-in-a-life-time chance.

All we had to do was keep showing up -- next practice, next game, next season. And so we did.

Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS.

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