(UPDATED 1:43p 4/27/14) I have had a minute to think about sharing more of my precious memories with Sam Lacy, or returning to the “He Made a Difference” series. Since my boss hasn’t called me to say, “Enough!” I decided to share one more installment of our time together. Maybe we can return to my personal memories at another time.
When you are 15 years old and people stand and applaud when your name is announced, you have a bit of a problem realizing you need a reality check. In my case, Pop was attempting to coach me in a basketball move I had patented. I would start with my back to the basket, roll my right shoulder, fake to the left and spin to the right with my shot. I had put in hours of work, and the results were outstanding.
Sam pointed out that the shoulder roll telegraphed the shot and pretty soon opponents would catch on. I listened, but in my mind I was too good, too cocky and too hardheaded to take coaching advice from a man who came from an era of the two-hand set shot. In his day, anybody who shot a jumper came from another planet.
It was summer, and as was the usual practice, a bunch of us headed to an outdoor court to play a little ball. Sam would tag along if time permitted, and on this occasion he was present. We chose sides, and Sam was on the opposite side. As the game progressed, I found myself with the opportunity to show off my shoulder roll. To make things perfect, Sam was guarding me at the time. I came out of my move and shot. He not only blocked the shot, but sent the basketball back at my face. For a brief moment there was a total eclipse. The odd thing about this eclipse was the fact that there was a basketball between me and the sun.
Then there was this explosion and I got a view of all of the planets. The unusual thing was that I was flat on my back and had the taste of dust in my mouth. For those of you who have had a broken nose, I am sure you share my pain. Game over.
We made a trip to the local emergency room to get my face rearranged and returned home. My most embarrassing moment came when I saw the look on my mother’s face as we sat across from each other at the dinner table. To this day I am reminded of that moment every time I look in the mirror.
Since I am on this subject, I find an excellent opportunity to segue into my proudest moment. I went to school out of town, and experienced a bit of success on the hardwood. As a fund raising gimmick, the schools had a Father-Son Night.
This was a night when the fathers were given replicas of the son’s jerseys and lined the wall as the sons emerged from the locker room. All my life I was Sam Lacy’s son. But, on this night as I emerged from the tunnel, I heard a lady exclaim, “Look, that’s Tim Lacy’s dad!” For the rest of the night my feet never touched the floor.