Living in the moment. Being present.
It’s about more than just paying attention. It’s when you have the presence to know that something you will remember for the rest of your life is happening at this very moment, and you not only take it all in but rise to the occasion.
Hitting a buzzer-beater from basically half court for the win certainly counts.
And so does taking a charge at the end of regulation with the game tied, just when it seems like the other team’s hottest player is about to become the hero. Instead, the hero was Drew Timme.
The player with the best mustache in college basketball has become the heart of this year’s Zags. The reason is simple. Timme is the one Gonzaga player who has shown, embraced and embodied the importance of being present – the only Bulldog who hasn’t really had an off game in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Sure, he flexes for his teammates after a big play. He traces his Drew Manchu after a cool dunk. But don’t let his lighthearted nature fool you: Timme means business. Just with a smile.
On a team with two likely NBA lottery picks, it was Timme who had to guard USC’s lottery pick back in the Elite Eight. And it was Timme who ended up looking like he should be the top-five selection.
In his five NCAA Tournament games this year, he’s leading Gonzaga’s star-studded lineup, averaging 22 points per game. It’s easy to forget he’s just a sophomore.
Yes, even the goofy handlebars show he’s embracing what is likely a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
But this isn’t just about the Zags.
Look at the Spokane region’s contribution to college basketball this year.
The Greater Spokane League has three big contributors in the men’s and women’s NCAA title games: GU’s Anton Watson (Coeur d’Alene and Gonzaga Prep) and Stanford’s Lacie and Lexie Hull (Central Valley). The Hull twins helped the Cardinal win a national championship on Sunday.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer is the winningest coach in women’s college basketball with 1,124. Guess where win No. 1 was? As the University of Idaho head coach in 1978.
VanDerveer and the Zags’ Mark Few are the 2021 Naismith coaches of the year.
Layer on this year’s NCAA appearances by the Gonzaga women’s team, as well as Eastern Washington’s run that included scaring the pants off the Kansas Jayhawks, and it’s not hard to see that we may never witness another year quite like this on our home team’s basketball courts.
So, are we being present in this historic moment? That’s harder to tell. “Isolate” and “celebrate” are two words that have rarely been used together.
But there are signs.
The limited times you do leave the house, you’re likely running into people wearing at least one thing that says “Gonzaga.” On Saturday night, neighbors around Spokane literally heard each other yelling at the same time. And everyone knew exactly why.
Then there was the radio call of Jalen Suggs’ miracle shot to beat UCLA from Tom Hudson and Adam Morrison. Morrison loses it. My Spokesman-Review colleague, Justin Reed, explained it best in a Facebook post: “Hearing Adam Morrison go ballistic felt like he was shedding the brutal memories of the 2006 Gonzaga-UCLA Sweet 16 nightmare. Now, Spokane will haunt Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.”
Morrison was completely in the moment. Just like Timme has been since the second he arrived in Indianapolis. Bubble life hasn’t bothered him. He’s embraced it with a bear hug. Heck, he’s doing Zoom interviews with NBA all-star Dwyane Wade during his free time.
There was a generation of basketball fans who wanted to be like Mike. Not me.
Gimme some Timme.
Gimme that grin. Gimme that clutch layup. Gimme that ability to take a charge.
But mostly, gimme the ability to live in the moment.
Just like Timme.