Did he really say that?

The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes = GEORGE CARLIN...Stained glass, engraved glass, frosted glass–give me plain glass = JOHN FOWLES...Music is the mathematics of the gods = PYTHAGORAS...Nothing is more fluid than language = R.L.SWIHART

Saturday, March 2, 2013

................... The Morning After................... ....... THE NIGHT OF THE CENTURY .......

Being the eldest of the "Knickerbockers," sixteen year-old Linda Oliverio was the captain of our bowling team. Her teammates were a thirteen year-old brother and fifteen year-old twins,
Ellis & Sanford Roseberg. There were eight teams in our league.

Parents of the Kegler Kids competed in league play on weeknights. But on Saturday mornings
in 1962, Whitestone Lanes was a teenage wonderland.
There were three other Saturday morning bowling leagues, all for kids between the ages
of thirteen and eighteen. We monopolized the lanes.
Parents were limited to chauffeuring duties and paying for hotdogs. They also did
a lot of flirting but only in the parking lot.

The twins, my sister and me wore New York Knicks jerseys to the bowling alley.
Linda wore # 9 because she was in love with Richie Guerin. I wore #11 because
Johnny Green's last name was composed of letters in the name Guerin.

Ellis wore #6 for Willie Naulls. Years later, Ellis would get his law degree
from UCLA, the alma mater of Willie Naulls.

Sandy wore #12. His favorite Knick was Cleveland Buckner
because the mother of the twins was born in Cleveland.

All four of us lived on the same block in the northwestern corner of Long Island.
You could access our street by taking the LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL
of the Whitestone Bridge.

We were the worst athletes on our block  but my sister could kick a football further than any kid in Whitestone. Her three bowling teammates were from the nerd class and our scores rarely reached three digits. Linda's nickname was Chunky.

She could also swim further and faster than anyone I ever knew.

What the Knickerbocker bowling team had in common with their basketball namesake was that
we were both cellar dwellers. But the morning of March 3, 1962 shall live in infamy
because of what happened the night before.

My father drove us to Whitestone Lanes that morning while Ellis Rosenblatt
read the sports pages of the New York Daily News.

"They played in Hershey, Pennsylvania," he exclaimed.
He was referring to an NBA contest between
the Knicks and the Philadelphia Warriors.

"How could play a professional sport in a town named after a chocolate candy bar?"
asked Sandy.
"Sounds yummy," said Linda.

I was too depressed to comment. All of a sudden, I hated a man named "Wilt."

But from a distance of fifty-one years, it is easy to put what happened on The Night of the Century
in perspective.

Wilt Chamberlain scoring one hundred points in a game–without overtime–is the equal of Michael Phelps winning ten Gold Medals in one Olympic year...Jack Nicholson winning a dozen Academy Awards...Peyton Manning throwing eight touchdown passes in a football game.

In the history of baseball, no player has ever hit more than four home runs in a single game.
Imagine Albert Pujols hitting five homers in a nine-inning game...

For Phelps, Nicholson, Manning, and Pujols, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. But for Wilt Chamberlain, on the night of March 2, 1962, it was pure reality.

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