Thursday, April 5, 2007

One shining moment...

I kind of ignored Florida after the National Championship but I came across this today and liked the story so here it is...

CBS always ends its broadcast of the national championship game with "One Shining Moment" and everybody sees this marvelous video collage of all that's gone on during the last three weeks in the march through the madness. What fans couldn't see Monday night was the Florida Gators, sitting on the podium, arms draped over each other's shoulders, swaying back and forth to the music, singing along.

Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Jack Berry were there at the left end of the podium and they were all three singing along. Corey reminded me of a little kid at Christmas the way he looked up at the video board. You could see the reflection of the bright lights in his eyes, which were moist with tears as he mouthed out the words of the song. If Corey was choking up, Jo wasn't far behind. This was a special moment that they weren't ever going to forget.

Asked at the post-game press conference about what was going on his mind as he watched that video, Brewer responded, "One Shining Moment almost makes you want to cry. Second time I got to watch it, our team got to watch it, just to see what goes into people playing in the NCAA tournament. That's why you love college basketball, all the guys diving on the floor, everybody playing as hard as they can play just to be in this moment where we are right now. We're just very fortunate to win two in a row, just to win this one, we're happy."

My lasting memory of Corey Brewer will be the smile and the joy of playing the game that he never once tried to hide. This is a kid that spent his Saturdays working a trash route with his dad. Ellis "Pee Wee" Brewer wouldn't have minded if Corey had wanted to spend time working on his jump shot, but Corey volunteered to work with his dad just so the two of them could have quality time together. Corey always talked about the lessons he learned from his dad, about how anything worth having was worth working hard to get. Maybe that's why he always smiles when he plays. He understands hard, physical work and playing the game is sheer joy.

Unlike Taurean Green, Joakim Noah and Al Horford, Brewer's family wasn't comfortably secure with its finances. Pee Wee Brewer had a leg amputated this year and he's had several heart procedures. Last year when NBA millions were calling, it was Corey Brewer that announced to his three teammates that he was coming back to go for two. When he said he was coming back, the other three said we're there with you. He had more to gain from a financial standpoint than any of the others but he felt there was more to life than making money. He loved being a Gator and he loved being in school and he loved playing with his teammates. He knew the NBA would wait a year but if he left, he would never again have the chance to play

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