The Pistol”

“The Pistol”

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
—-Michael Jordan

As a young athlete most of us will assign a professional athlete the title of “HERO.” I don’t even know when I first was told about Pete “Pistol” Maravich. But when I heard about his accomplishments and training, I knew that he was the basketball player that I wanted to be like. Pete was the Michael Jordan of basketball before Michael Jordan was a big name. With his slender frame and slouchy socks Pete became an athlete that was also coached by his father Press Maravich.
He ate, slept and breathed his sport with dedication that very few know. He always had a basketball with him practicing his ball handling skills everywhere he went. In the movie, The Pistol: Birth of a Legend, it describes his training methods and accurately portrays the dedication to the sport. In the days that he played both college and the NBA the 3-point line had not taken effect in the sport. Had there been there’s no telling how many records would stand alone even today.
His ball handling skills still amaze the childish athlete in me that wishes he still was alive. Though even as a great player Pete was a very private man. At the age of 35, Pete became a born-again Christian which he proudly acknowledged. But suddenly at the age of 44 in 1988 Pete would die, playing a pickup game of basketball from an undetected heart defect. Pete has become to be known as the best ball handler of all time. And while I was still playing high school basketball, I would always watch a movie about him or articles on the internet (dial up) to give me that little motivation I needed to propel me with the right attitude and centerness throughout the season. Of course, I had to read quick because if anyone called the house phone, I’d get kicked off the internet.

When I was in my undergraduate work at William Carey University, Jaeson Marravich, Pete’s son, came to play for the school. The moment I saw him and his resemblance and ball handling style of him my eyes filled with tears. On his left his upper arm where he proudly wears a tattoo that says The Pistol. I still get chills from that moment. And at the time I was looking for something positive to help me keep going since I was still in an abusive marriage.

But of course, the other great moment only 2nd to seeing and meeting Jaeson, was attending my first ever basketball game at LSU’s Pete Maravich Center, in Baton Rouge, LA where his father coached him the four years he played. Inside the coliseum has pictures of Pete and displays of his records both in college and the NBA. It would also be the day that I stood side-by-side with Shaquille O’Neal with my height measuring to his waist as he ran out the tunnel. What a big guy he really is!

His determination, dedication and focus to his sport is what I still admire about him today. And just writing about him and giving in to those beautiful feelings I had for him as an athlete is going to help me a little bit with my confidence. Guys, I’m up against a big opponent in my therapy life. I’ve got a great coach at the reigns. And I’ve got Pete and the words of former coaches and family to lean on. I’m in the fight of and for my life.

This is the link to the movie The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend.

America The Beautiful

America The Beautiful

“We know what works.  Freedom works.  We know

what’s right. Freedom is right.”

—George H.W. Bush

With all the national coverage about the passing of our nation’s 41st, Former President George H. W. Bush, I was quickly reminded somewhere in my psyche that history was again happening and I have the pleasure of witnessing it.  When I was a young child (preteen) I cared mainly about playing.  I didn’t care about the world or its politics.  My job was to play hard and make messes.  The magnitude of the earth was just too big to comprehend or imagine.

I do, however, remember something very specific about being in the 4th grade in the year 1986.  It was the day all of our classes were combined and it was going to be a really exciting day. We would watch on TV a space shuttle take off and a teacher was one of the astronauts.  To me and I’m sure others, the really big deal was that we were not having to do school work at the moment.  We all got excited doing the 10 second countdown.  And then…..LIFTOFF!!!!!  We heard and saw the roaring power of that big shuttle shake with an enormous level of power lift off and  barrel towards outer space.

On the TV screen it looked like a firework had just exploded.  The teachers were gasping in fear and astonishment at what they had just seen.  I hadn’t quite understood what had happened myself.  I look around the room at the kids and they were just whispering to other students around them.  I look at the teachers and their eyes were full of tears and rolling down their cheeks.  I thought to myself…”Am I suppose to be crying too?”  “What just happened?” The name of the shuttle would be called….the Space Shuttle Challenger.  It exploded 73 seconds into its flight killing all 7 crew members which included a teacher by the name of Crista Macauliffe. The breakdown of the shuttle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff.  I obviously didn’t realize the importance of what I was seeing, at that very moment, but it would later be called history.



Skip ahead to my 8th grade year (1988-1989) and we were once again allowed to watch history happen.  The first well known computer virus was called the 1988 Internet worm.  The World Wide Web was just being discussed and a plausible idea as another form of communication.  Ronald Regan had been the President. George H.W. Bush would fall in line as the 41st President of the United States of American the following year. And my basketball hero named Pete “The Pistol” Maravich would die playing a pickup game of a massive heart attack forever leaving a void in the sport of basketball.

ronald regan  ghwbush

 I began to learn that this world was big and it seemed not to revolve around me despite my best efforts. Politics were still too complicated to fully understand.  And when the president’s address to the nation came on I still wanted to change the channel.  Life was simply but becoming more and more complicated the older I got.

As an adult now, I look back on historical events that have happened or are happening and I try to understand them and how they relate to other parts of history, present and future.  Yesterday, I was in a doctor’s office watching some of the news about the passing of former President George H.W. Bush.  I watch as former presidents and their wives filed into the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  where our nation’s 41st elected President and his service to our nation would be honored.

Former President Jimmy Carter was looking very 94ish in age.  He looked like he had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel.  But credit to him for attending this service. Once the Presidential pumpkin and his wife got seated the service began shortly afterwards.

bushhwservice  bushhwfuneral3


I am again reminded how as I sit and have my eyes glued to the TV in the waiting room that I’m also, once again, watching history happen.  Without thinking to a room  with a few people and all eyes paying attention to the screen I say, “You know….I really hope that the teachers in the schools are allowing the kids to watch this service even for a few minutes. I know how much that means to me now as an adult to know that I saw history happening at school and I didn’t just hear about it.  I don’t know the reasons  why we were allowed to watch some of these things in school.  But I’m glad we did because on those days I felt like I was getting an education in subjects they didn’t teach at school. This an many other reasons are why I continue to call our free nation….AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where me were free.”

—Ronald Regan