CLASSIC REDUX: ‘Secrets of the Centaur’ Get an Unexpected Assist From an Unexpected Source

Posted on Nov 25, 2013

I FIGURED OUT WHY YOUR BLOG AND BOOK WILL BE A WINNER!

These dozen words were written in an email to me by a friend, Kathryn, who pens her own blog at RAGGED RECOVERY. Kathryn was reacting to an interview she read that I had done about CENTAUR SEASONS for the “Varsity Letters” sports-reading section of the online site GELF Magazine.

* * * * *   ‘AN UNEXPECTED ASSIST …’ CONTINUES BELOW   * * * * *

Welcome to a CENTAUR SEASONS “Classic Redux.” Every day from October 15 (March Madness!) through Thanksgiving Centaur Seasons is reposting shortened versions of last year’s efforts. (Click here to read today’s original.) Come December, CENTAUR SEASONS II will tip off with brand-new Centaur stories.

* * * * *  NOW, BACK TO ‘AN UNEXPECTED ASSIST …’  * * * * *  

In response to a ‘VL’ question posed by interviewer Justin Adler, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO ALLENTOWN COLLEGE OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES?, I answered: “It was kind of by accident. I planned on attending Niagara University, but my father passed away in September of my senior year of high school, and [after that] I wanted to go to a school that was closer to my hometown of York, Pennsylvania. … … [E]verything just clicked—it all felt right.”

Regular readers are aware that a CENTAUR SEASONS goal has been to divine what it was exactly about Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, that made this tiny-little brand-new place surrounded by cornfields such a unique and special opportunity.

“The Secrets of the Centaur,” as I’ve called them.**

Well, my take away, and my ENVY, Kathryn wrote me, is that you took what life handed you and you engaged and embraced and reveled in it. … Here you were, losing your Dad senior year in high school, having to shift gears and go to a nearby college — one without much to offer, on paper.  But you plunged in and made it matter.  There’s a huge lesson here about acceptance and attitude and … I’M HERE AND I AM GOING TO MAKE IT SPECIAL….

It would seem an impossible leap from girl with eating disorder to boy on basketball team, but for Kathryn, no.

It is one of the great regrets of my life, Kathryn continued in her email, that my father’s dying (yes, we share that) triggered my eating disorder that then derailed the end of high school and my college career.

Instead of doing, I conclude Kathryn means, what I and so many of us at Allentown College did by being there then during the school’s formative years: plunged in and made it matter, as she puts it. There’s a huge lesson here about acceptance and attitude. …

Thanks, Kathryn, for saying so well for me what I’ve been trying to say for so long about the Secrets of the Centaur .

COMING TUESDAY: AN ALL-STAR CENTAUR SHINES IN HIS FINAL OPPORTUNITY

** Links to previous “Secrets of the Centaur” posts:

SEARCHING FOR THAT … SOMETHING ELSE.

WHY US? WHY FIRST?

BRICKS AND A BIRTHDAY

THE NIGHT THE CENTAURS MOVED THE BUS: Part Three of a Metaphor in Three Parts.

AT THE END OF THE BENCH:  What a Centaur Turned Coach Learned at Allentown and Shares with UCLA Coach John Wooden.

KEEP YOUR FOOT IN THAT BUCKET, STEVE!

ON THE PASSING OF JACK KLUGMAN

THE YEAR THE CENTAURS PLAYED THE FIGHTING IRISH (yes — in football!)

SLEEPING IN THE GYM, or “The Process of Becoming a Basketball Team”

CENTAUR SEASONS, DAVID BROOKS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE…

CENTAUR SEASONS POSTS UP ON D3HOOPS.COM 

THE GIANT SHADOW THAT IS JOHN WOODEN

What CENTAUR SEASONS Can Teach the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers U. … Seriously

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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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