Birthday wish nets one “for the ages”

the crew

Joe Lanza celebrates his birthday playing basketball with friends at the Goleta Boys & Girls Club. Front l-r: Ron Colman, John Holehouse, Lanza, Tom Sykes & Charles Faulding. Back: Conner & Steve Rehage, Eric Onnen, Joe Gagnon, Mark Klopstein & Mike Pugh. Missing: Allan Pugh (Photo by Randy Weiss)


He only wanted one thing…

No gifts and a chance to play hoops again with his buds.

(OK, two things, actually…)

You see, Joe Lanza, a CPA/Partner at McGowan Guntermann, is a basketball aficionado!!

Doesn’t play anymore due to a knee injury years back – now he’s an avid, active fan.

Catch him and wife, Alice at UCSB women’s games….


“Especially these last few years, I’d sometimes wake up dreaming about playing basketball,” Lanza states. “I just wanted to do it one more time.”

Randy Weiss

Randy Weiss

WEISSCRAX: With a fun, creative
flair, Randy Weiss showcases
the lighter side of sports,
or sportz as he calls it.
Randy’s work from Presidio
Sports has surfaced in Parade
Magazine and Runner’s World.
Randy can usually be found on
the pool decks at local water polo
matches, in the ocean for Reef &
Run and Nite Moves summer series,
and at a zillion community and
sporting events around town.

So for his special milestone birthday wish, his long-time pal, Steve “Sharpshooter” Rehage, springs into action with a blast email:

Come out for Joe! Saturday 9AM at Goleta Boys & Girls Club.

And they do…

A dozen gym rats & local hoop legends of yesteryear – some past their prime playing days … a few have hung up their, well — they’ve retired from team contact sports … the rest, amazingly, still “Got Game.”

Individually and collectively, they’re uber-credentialed — having sweated on every reputable pick-up court around town: boys & girls club(s), Carrillo Rec Center, Bishop HS, Barry Berkus’ Sunday Church of Roundball, Page Youth Center, St. Mary’s Seminary (pick any day) … yada … yada … yada.

You get the picture.

All great guys … incredible humans … accomplished in their chosen fields … family men … generous community, civic and political leaders … “movers and shakers”…

And all well grounded & bonded in basketball in the fun, friendly competition that defines this close-knit Santa Barbara sports scene.

Today’s action is not swift, not furious.

There are a buncha picks, some rolls … a zillion rebounds … even more smiles and laughs.

Defense is much like an NBA All Star game – like nada.

There’s flashes of sheer athletic brilliance, too – most notable: The Airbus Boyz, Mark & Eric – playing as if time stood still since their early (1985) launch on UCSB’s outdoor asphalt courts.

Goleta Boys & Girls Club - Sal Rodriguez Clubhouse

Also playing solid, of course, is Steve’s son, young Conner Rehage (born 1988).


There’s good-natured ribbing, wild encouragement and easy banter on the court, non-stop, boy chatter on the sidelines.

Plus, substituting is uber-quick — just like the burgers: In ‘n Out!!

Four or five games to seven points, win by two.

No blowouts. All close.

Nobody really cares – we’re just happy for a quick breather.

And one remarkable, fitting finish …

Birthday Boy Lanza drains a beautiful SportCenter Top Ten Play-like last shot to win and leave a winner – a 15-footer, under pressure!!

Swish ….

“I didn’t want it to be a ‘vanity thing’ – the guys just showing up for my birthday,” he says. “Didn’t know what to expect and it’s such a great time. I’m glad everyone is having fun!”

Soooo … this memorable & classic trip down Basketball Memory Lane for a friend and fellow hoop junkie re-connects us all in this one celebratory golden moment in time.

For Joe — awesome to know that, even now at age 6-0, hoop dreams still come true.

And for everyone — what a priceless gift we just got, after all …