WeissCrax: Yours in Hoops

Got the post-holiday blues?

Well, then, GOOD NEWS!

R-e-l-i-e-f is here. Literally.

Your golden ticket is… do-that-drum-roll-in-your-head-thing-here …HOOPS!!

And not just any kind, but ‘the real deal.’

Not March Madness. Too early.

CHARGERS. ROYALS. And a packed Thunderhut!

The stands were packed!

Maury Halleck took in Wednesday's Channel League boys basketball game at the Thunderhut, or Maury Halleck Gymnasium.

‘The House of Halleck.’

In fact, Maury’s here, too.

In thousands of gyms across America’s frozen tundra, similar hoops scenes are playing out.

But DP vs. SM is right here. Right now.

The San Marcos student section wears its colors proudly

It doesn’t get any better than this….

As one would expect, and especially for such a classic cross-town rivalry, there are the usual
pre-game rituals … blasting music during warm-ups … player introductions by The Voice …
cheerleaders cheering … and The National Anthem, this time sung majestically by the award-winning Madrigals.

Fans on both sideline bleachers are amped. Parents, ‘basketball junkies’ and many young faces shining in the innocence of youth.

Some donned tuxedos and gowns at last weekend’s Kids Helping Kids fundraising venue at the Granada Theatre that amazingly raised $165,000, primarily for The Unity Shoppe, a local non-profit organization benefitting kids and families in crisis.

These special, spirited students represent the hopes and dreams not only for their families … but for our future … for America.

Back to the game…

“I like our chances,” sez the guy standing nearby just before tip-off.

Thank you, Abe Jahadhmy, SMHS Athletic Director.

DP (9-9 overall) comes out strong, while defending champs SM appear not to be playing like their current 15-5 record suggests.

Athletic Directors stand together: San Marcos' Abe Jahadmy and Dos Pueblos' Dan Feldhaus.

Butterflies .. adrenaline … jitters … nervousness … whatever… both teams have it!

Loud cheers such as “air-ball … air-ball … air-ball …” come deservedly from both sidelines.

The frozen tundra strikes Santa Barbara.

First quarter score: DP 8. Johnny Manzo 4.

Manzo carries impressive stats – averages almost a “double-double” at nearly 10 points & rebounds per game. Toss in a stellar 4.79 GPA — as in Grade Point Average  — and he could be Harvard-bound in the fall, following in the BIG footsteps of his Royal bro, Nick.

Both teams’ cold shooting continue and the 4th quarter starts DP 29 SM 27.

Make no mistake — the fans are totally into the game and are living and dying with every few baskets. The many misses.

“Boink … boink … pass …” comes from the SM student section, calling the action for the DP offense. And “Why so quiet?” gently chides their counterparts when momentum shifts.

Finally, some real action, shortly after the jock rock tune: Y-M-C-A — likely also playing in other gyms across the USA.

With 4:14 left and DP leading by one, 37-36, another cool dude standing nearby offers a hot tip: “Whoever has the ball last will win.”

Thank you, Dan Feldhaus, DPHS Athletic Director.

And then just like they do on TV, there are seemingly a zillion time-outs to crank it up a notch or two … to finalize strategy … to ‘ice’ opposing players at the free throw line.

SM’s Chad Ridenour’s trey at 43.3 seconds keeps it ever-so-close: DP 43 SM 42.

After a mad scramble for the ball and a foul with nine seconds remaining, it’s near-perfect freeze fame:

The banners on the wall … the athletic fumes … fans standing and wildly encouraging their teams … the energy level … those young players on Jon Lee Court … nary a person seen texting in the stands … no one talking on their iPhone …

It’s all about living in this moment.

And what a moment it is!

El (Robert) Cid then “swaggers” up to the line with thoughts of his girlfriend, as he later reported to Presidio Sports reporter Blake Dorfman, and calmly sinks both free throws. (He didn’t say what or who he was thinking about when he missed, seconds earlier.)

DP wins it 45-42!

And the crowd lets out its collective breath.

Phew – what a game!!

Afterwards, there’s the continued great sportsmanship — both teams shake hands, knuckle-bump and later, the usual sports interviews with the star players.

Tonite, again, proved that it’s more than winning and losing.

It’s about enjoying life through athletics in magical moments that could last forever for these young rising stars. And their fans.

Youth sports can bring out the best in a community.

Especially one as great as ours.

And if you don’t believe it, heck, go ask Maury – he’ll tell ya!

In fact, he’s right over there ….