Chips sportswriter meets the national champ after pep rally at Cole
Every so often you'll get a call from someone offering you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Usually you just hang up the phone and ask to be removed from the telemarketers' calling list. But this time, I didn't yell at the person; I didn't demand never to be called again. Because the person on the other end of the phone was none other than my Silver Chips colleague Ben Penn, I listened.
He asked me if I would be interested in going to the rally for the Terps when they arrived from Atlanta the day after defeating the Indiana Hoosiers in the National Championship game. I agreed without hesitation, and we embarked on a journey that would prove well worth the drive to College Park.
The rally was nothing short of excellent. We got to see Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, hear Gary Williams talk about how great his team was and voice our opinion about sophomore Chris Wilcox's decision on whether to go to the NBA by chanting, "One more year, one more year." But the real fun didn't come until we were ready to leave.
We left Cole Field House, grabbed a bite to eat and started walking to the parking lot. On the way, I noticed an unusually large man surrounded by a crowd. He was easily a foot taller than everyone around him, and immediately I knew what I was witnessing.
Right before my very eyes was power forward Tahj Holden, a national champion. Not just a basketball player, not just a Terp, but a national champion. I was in the presence of a man who had endured the pressure of the Final Four, a man who guarded Kansas All-American forward Drew Gooden.
And then something hit me: I have a camera, and I have paper. So immediately I asked for an autograph, and he complied. But before he began to sign, I handed my camera to Ben and asked him to take a picture of Holden and me. Just as Ben snapped the shot, I threw my arm around Holden's neck and smiled like I had just won the lottery.
Afterwards I giggled like a schoolgirl, and then it hit me again: I just threw my arm around a national champion! Next time Ben calls to offer me an opportunity, I think we all know what my answer will be.
Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »