Up From the Ashes
July 1, 2003 Patrick Dennehy was murdered by former teammate Carlton Dotson after an argument. Until then Baylor basketball was known as a nobody in the basketball community, but now everything was changed. National headlines screamed “A Program Marred by Murder and Scandal.” Baylor basketball was thought never to recover. Four years later the Bears are in the Associated Press’s “Top 25”, and thriving as nothing had ever happened.
I believe in Baylor basketball, and the way they rose up from ground zero and made the best out of the situation they had been given. Four years ago basketball at Baylor University was losing popularity and its fan base because they never won. Not to say their recruiting was helping their situation. It was all fun and games until that fateful day when I heard Baylor University on the local news. I thought “Cool, Baylor is never on the news.” So of course I watched in horror to learn that Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy had been murdered. I was shocked to learn that an athlete at a Baptist school would do that.
Baylor was given probation of two years of no non-conference games and the horrible thought of one of their teammates dead. Baylor fired Coach Dave Bliss and hired Scott Drew a thirty-three year old coach from Valparaiso. The previous year Drew led Valpo to the opening round of the NIT, who was a good choice for the Bears. He had some trouble recruiting for the first few years because of the scandal, and their record showed it. Baylor basketball looked grim but they were improving by a game or two each year. This year Drew has lead Baylor to a record of 16-4 and a place in the national spotlight in the top 25.
As I watch Baylor play Texas this past Saturday, in the back of my mind I thought of how far they had come and how much they have accomplished. Even though the longhorns are winning the game I am proud to be a Baylor Bear. I am thinking back to last Tuesday when I did not see my number on the list for the high school baseball team. The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I had worked my whole life for that moment, and to have my dreams crushed like that was one of the saddest moments in my life. As I watched the game I remembered how much pain they had gone through, and how my pain was nothing compared to what they had to go through. They had their whole program crushed and their hopes and dreams demolished by the murder. But they have forgotten the past and risen up from the ashes and made the most of their situation. I hope this will happen to me too, and next year I will make the baseball team and thrive, just like the Baylor basketball program did.
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