It was forty-six years ago on this day that an incredible memory became indelibly etched in my mind and soul…
It was late in the evening on March 12, 1977, and I was sitting in the last seat on the right side of Covington High School Bus 9.
Across the aisle from me sat my good friend and basketball teammate, Joe Hitchcock.
Joe and I had spent countless hours on an old asphalt basketball court in the heart of Covington, working hard to win a basketball championship for our little town.
Bus 9 was barreling down Troy Pike as we were closing in on the outskirts of town.
Charlie, the bus driver, barreled everywhere, especially when 70’s rock and roll music was blasting throughout the bus. Charlie was the first Covington bus driver to equip his rig with an eight-track tape player.
We were on our way home from the University of Dayton Arena after knocking off a talented Clinton Massie team 56-40. This win followed a big upset from a couple of nights earlier, as we handed a highly regarded Ripley Blue Jay team their only loss of the season.
The win over Clinton Massie gave Covington its first-ever District championship in basketball.
As we came around the final bend of Troy Pike, we were greeted with a spectacle of lights, sirens, and honking horns.
Much to our team’s pleasant surprise, we had entered into the first-ever sports championship caravan escorting us through our small village.
A police cruiser grabbed the lead position in the caravan while the village firetrucks lined up behind the bus, and following the firetrucks were at least fifty cars.
Sirens, flashing lights, and honking horns signified that Bus 9 was transporting something special.
As we were escorted through town, people stood outside their homes, clapping and cheering for us.
I remember the details of this moment so vividly because I put my window down and stuck my head out to take it all in and to wave at and thank the people for showing their support.
At some point, I remember my buddy Joe looking over at me and shouting, “Meyer, this is unbelievable.”
To top things off, hundreds of Covingtonians packed into our gymnasium and celebrated with a post-game “championship” pep rally for us.
Yes, it was indeed an unbelievable experience.
I have many great memories from my high school and college basketball playing days, but the ones that stand out the most are the team memories.
The same holds for my business career. The other day I shared with Lori that what I missed the most about the business was the team. I told her I would give anything to sit in a room with them one more time.
God wired us for community.
The COVID-19 pandemic tried to short-circuit that “wire” in all of us.
Sometimes Reality Sucks
In the picture of our championship team, I am #32, the guy on my left, number #4, is Joe, and the tall guy on my right is Mike, #44. Mike was a rising sophomore star and an integral member of the 1976-77 championship team.
At different points in their lives, each of them lost their desire to live and took that loss of desire into their own hands.
They are gone but not forgotten.
I think of them often.
I think of Joe almost daily as we had a kindred spirit between us and always will.
Joe and Mike were vital cogs in one of my all-time favorite championship communities.
Somehow, I had allowed them to disconnect from that community without knowing.
They were friends I wish I could have been connected to when darkness was overtaking their souls.
It wasn’t meant to be, I guess…
Depression, anxiety, and isolation are all potentially deadly if left unattended.
Always try your best to keep your mind in a healthy community.
Reach out to those who may seem disconnected.
God wired us for community.
The enemy works tirelessly to short-circuit that Wire.
We must work just as hard or harder to keep that Wire intact.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”