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

Posted on Nov 16, 2012

When last we saw the Centaurs on this multipart Move the Bus Metaphor, they had slowly rolled from Center Valley, Pennsylvania, to Cape May, New Jersey, in an old yellow school bus painted blue and red, for an away game against Shelton College. They’d arrived only minutes before tipoff, played (and won!) the game, then hopped back on the bus for the trek home. Along the way they had to push the bus twice around a Jersey traffic circle to jumpstart the engine (with everyone then running to get on board) and later one of the players had to take over for the bus driver, who’d fallen asleep and nearly driven off the road.

The bus wouldn’t move? We moved the bus. The perfect metaphor for what life was like at an Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales making itself up as it went along.

In those Parts One & Two, my Centaur teammates told this story themselves. It is as much their story as mine, after all.

Chris Cashman, a sophomore starting center/forward on that team and the leading rebounder the year before, had contributed his share to the telling (as well as to the win over Shelton: 16 points, 13 rebounds). But recently when we were talking on the phone about it all and I posited my move-the-bus metaphor, Cash demurred.

No, he said, he doesn’t see it that way at all, and he didn’t see it that way back then, either.

“I don’t know that I can make the bus analogy unless I’m making it as the bus that carried me across the bridge of my young naïve life to the point in my life where I became who I am today,” he told me.

Even if to get that bus across that bridge we had to push it ourselves.

And with that Cash, ever the leader, was off and running, taking me way beyond that Cape May night, the bus push, the drive for home. Everything I’ve been trying to say here in CENTAUR SEASONS, about our experience at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales – back then, right then – at this brand-new school in the middle of some cornfields, Cash said it for me, and better than I ever could.

I don’t remember that I interrupted him at all.

“For me,” Cash said, “the value of the experience was both fraternal and instructive. And I don’t mean educational or classroom instructive.”

It was, he said, for all of us our first real experience of being individuals finding our way as part of a larger whole, which in our case also just happened to be at a brand-new school finding its way. A confluence rife with possibility.

“The things I learned, the values I learned — sometimes in the face of adversity, sometimes in the face of fun, sometimes in the face of competition – I learned them there. The basketball was very important. The education was very important. But it’s the collection of friendships and experiences that helped me define who I am. That’s what those four years were.”

They were also this, and Cash volunteered it unabashedly. “I have the added blessing of having found my life partner and best friend there.” Marianne Salines, a freshman with me; she was in the school’s first class of women – 15, maybe 17 strong. Mr. & Mrs C. have been married now forever. “When I went there,”Cash said, “it was an all-male school. My second year we went co-ed. I had no idea that I was, you know, going to find that treasure, that gem I so cherish and value now. I can’t underscore the importance of that enough.”

Let me interrupt. First: thanks, Cash, for leaving me pale by comparison in the husband department. Geesh! Second, you two aren’t, uh, the first kids who ever met in college, got married, lived happily ever after.

No, Cash said, they aren’t. But that’s not his point anyway.

It’s the fact, he said, that we were all new at a school that was new. Do the math on that and it equals the reason why Allentown College was that special place, a different place. Including Marianne.

“The things I learned, the values I learned,” Cash said, “I learned there” – and then.“I don’t know if I would have learned it at Villanova. I don’t know if I would have learned it at St. Joe’s or Harvard or Yale or Fordham.”

A lot of colleges, he said, offer a lot of similar experiences. But with Allentown being so new — and we new to it — it was like we were “born there and grew up together.”

And that, Cash said, “that was the catalyst for so many things.”

 

On November 20th, 2012 at 7:13 pm, Wilk said:

Steve,

I agree with Cash’s assessment.

Cash,

I agree with Steve’s metaphor.


On November 21st, 2012 at 4:28 am, Steve McKee: Centaur Season said:

[…] THE NIGHT CENTAURS MOVED THE BUS: Part Three of a Metaphor in Three Parts […]



 
     

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.

×