Just What I Needed

Are there times when you really feel dumb? I mean just silly stupid. That was me last night.

I was fortunate enough to get to play in VCUs Charles Barkley Celebrity golf tournament yesterday, and found myself during the cocktail hour talking to VCU senior center Calvin Roland.

(Side note: NBA legend Moses Malone was my assigned celebrity, and while Big Mo is an incredibly nice guy and fun to talk with, he is a lousy golfer.)

But anyway, back to Calvin Roland. If you remember, Roland is the guy that transferred in to VCU from a small juco in South Carolina. He played his junior season, but was redshirted last year after incredible back pain made it hard for him to even stand up. His comeback to play for VCU this year is about the ninth most difficult comeback in his life.

Mind you, I learned all of this about an hour after I spoke directly to him. Roland mainly hung out on the left arm of his new coach, Anthony Grant. I figured that he was there to represent the team–clad in a shirt and tie, smiling in a gentrific manner, shaking hands with everyone who walked up to him, Roland was playing the part well.

I had no idea that Roland was there because he was the recipient of the first Charles Barkley scholarship.

You see, Roland is now in grad school, which is an amazing accomplishment considering Roland was hit by a car when he was a child and doctors epected him to die. It is amazing considering he held down a regular job his freshman year in college, along with playing basketball and going to school. It is incredible to think that after his mother lost her job, the family was evicted from their home, and were homeless. Roland slept in locker rooms, friends houses, and the office where he worked.

To hear Calvin Roland speak last night in front of a crowded room and sports stars sent chills up my spine. The word basketball never came from his mouth, yet he managed to talk about how he persevered because he wanted to set a good example for his two younger brothers that they could make it, no matter what.

Afterwards, Barkley himself took the mike and talked about how proud he was of Roland. Barkley talked about Louis Armstrong and quoted Stan Kenton, saying that he was on top and it was his job to send the elevator back down for the next guy.

Think about that the next time you curse a 15-foot birdie putt that lips out.

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~ by mglitos on August 29, 2006.

One Response to “Just What I Needed”

  1. […] I’m asking is that I learn a little more than what I already know. It’s kind of our goal here, as it should be […]

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