Excerpts from The Dream

"We were anxious for the tourney to begin, but bad weather (that would be snow) set in and the tournament was delayed until the following week, on Monday. This gave us more time to think about it. The pressure was building. I remember looking at Jon and thinking, 'This is our junior year in high school and we have yet to even get out of our own District. All of those hours in the gym, all of the practices, all of the one-on-ones we've played, all of the hard work...' We had doubts. Then, after we thought about it, we realized it was very simple: If we were going to get out of our District for the first time in our high school career, we were just going to have to beat the best team in the state to do it! (Hmmm, I seem to recall a Peerless team that had done that before?) Once we accepted what we had to do, it seemed to become easier. At home one night a few days before the tourney, Jon took out a piece of school paper, and with a pen he outlined one word, one very large word, colored it in darkly, and taped it to the wall in our bedroom. The one word written on the page was: WIN. Seems the Panthers were a little hungry... " "The Tension Mounts", Page 35
"On Sunday, the day after we lost the Divisional championship game to Outlook, the greatest intelligence blunder in the history of District 1-C basketball—perhaps even the history of Class C basketball—occurred. In my mind, the drastic consequences it would have for Flaxville on Monday night would be far more severe than the breakdown in intelligence we had at Pearl Harbor in 1941. To this day, the source of this massive intelligence blunder on the part of the Flaxville Cardinals is unknown. I have my suspicions, but our informant, the agent we had working for us, who I am going to out, would not reveal his source. It was very frustrating that our informant, who was already betraying someone on the other side, could not take it a step further and let us know who his source was. I hate spies with integrity. " "The Great Intelligence Blunder", Page 55
"On Sunday afternoon at home, I found myself standing at our picture window next to my dad in our living room, just looking out the picture window at the town of Peerless. I don't remember saying anything to him, or him saying anything to me. We just stood there together, quietly looking out the window, thinking, contemplating. He was on my left. I looked over at him but he didn't look back at me; he just kept looking out the picture window. He had an ever so slight frown on his brow, very slight. Looking out the window, we could see the new gym up the hill to the left; the old gym was just beyond Uncle Reese's house, just a little bit to the left if we were looking straight ahead. I honestly can't remember if I could see the old gym from our picture window or not, but I knew it was there. I know we had to be thinking the same thing: All those cold winter nights going up to play in the old gym with him, to practice and play, Dad teaching us, Jon and me. All the fun we had had, playing basketball together with him coaching us. All the State tournaments we had gone to see with him, since 1975 when Westby won it for the second time, making the annual Holy Basketball Pilgrimage to Helena, the Mecca of Class C Basketball. At Helena we would watch the other teams play and imagine that someday we would be there, with our team, on that court, playing in the State tournament. And now, after all those years, we had a shot. We were close. One more win and we were going to State. The dream was within reach. " "The Picture Window", Page 58
"On this same, peculiar Monday, February 26, 1979, a total eclipse of the sun would occur over Northeastern Montana, with the heart of the darkness occurring straight above our heads in Peerless. Our science teacher, Pat Haas, had prepared us to look at the eclipse through these pinholes in shoe boxes, or something like that, but I didn't use it. I just wanted to walk around outside and experience the sensation of being engulfed in almost total darkness in the daytime in Peerless. It is very unusual to experience a total solar eclipse where you live; at any point on the earth's surface, this phenomena occurs only once almost every 400 years, and it just so happened that this total solar eclipse over Peerless occurred the Monday following the Divisional tournament in Wolf Point. As you have probably gleaned by now, everything I experienced that year was placed into the context of our team's ride to State. Everything. So my mind was focused exclusively on basketball, and this is why I remember that solar eclipse: I saw it as a metaphor for the shadow that had been cast over our team after the shocking close call we'd had with Opheim on Friday night, and the loss to Flaxville in the Divisional championship game just two days earlier. The dream of a clean sweep through the tournaments was now gone, eclipsed; and worse, there were now doubts about going forward and winning the State championship. I saw the shadow of the total solar eclipse of the sun over Peerless that day as a smudge on our perfection, and the only thing I could think of on that bizarre Monday, as the entire population of Peerless scuttled around the streets in almost total darkness, was that, strangely, approximately 32 miles to the east, the sun was somehow shining brilliantly over the town of Flaxville. " "A Total Eclipse of the Sun", Page 180