Click here to watch Gregory Lum's buzzer-beating shot!
“3-2-1… and from way behind the arc, Gregory Lum lets fly… a high trajectory… but has a chance… it’s GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!”
Those words, thrummed with gusto by golden-throated announcer Dan Falkner, I simply never expected to hear.
As bedlam broke out in the Knight Gymnasium following “Lum-Dog’s” heave, the stands emptied and waves of students stormed the court to high five our heroic head librarian. The roar that accompanied Mr. Lum’s three-pointer shook the rafters for what seemed like hours, causing the folks at Pizza Schmizza to fear that an earthquake might be underfoot.
We have seen many magic moments in the Knight Gym, but few can compare with the improbable, twine-tickling swish-heard-round-the-school that Librarian Lum launched with .3 seconds left on the clock in the annual Students v Teachers Winter Spirit Assembly Hoops Throwdown.
Prior to Mr. Lum’s miraculous shot, the Faculty squad had been faltering. At halftime of a 9-8 game, as the cheerleaders danced and JCTV did their thing, Student Team coach Sam Ulum gave his team a fierce pep talk, reportedly breaking at least two clipboards in the process. The Students came out for the second half afire with passion, while the Teachers were glad simply to still be standing.
The students, led by John (VP) Arndorfer, Danny (DT Solo) Terrell, and Amazing Amaia Harrington, sliced gracefully to the hoop through their wiser-yet-slower mentors. Despite the best (?) efforts of an all-star faculty team coached by Elaine Kloser, boasting hoopsters like John (Bubba) Andreas ’96, Konrad (You Stole My) Reinhardt, Whitney (Allegory of the) Cave, and Carol (Dr C) Wyatt, the students built a steady second-half lead.
As Mssrs Arndorfer and Terrell drained outside shots, Jack Marrs, Stella Kalomiris, and Amaia H drove the lane with reckless abandon. Faculty gunners Colin Griffin and John Guyol, SJ watched their usually reliable J’s inexplicably rim out, and the students jumped out to a 22-14 lead with three minutes left.
But then, like Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, the Teachers mounted a comeback. As senior Millie Orlando and History teacher Paul (PK) Klausenburger tusseled for rebounds, Guyol and Griffin found their rhythm, and Mr. Andreas began to assert his considerable will. The score crept closer, helped by an untimely technical as the Students committed an integrity violation by slipping an extra player onto the court. (To be fair, in the first half, the Teachers suddenly had eight players of their own all playing at once.)
As the score tightened, the senior section began to chant, “We want Lum! We want Lum!” Coach Kloser (was her last name an omen?) had no choice but to go deep in her bench to pluck out her bespectacled secret weapon.
Be careful what you ask for, children! Who would have dreamed of the miracle that would ensue?
Someday, all of the game’s earlier drama, the missed lay-ins, the airballs, the cringe-worthy defense, will be forgotten. What will be written in stone in the annals of Jesuit High is the extraordinary, exquisite moment when Mr. Lum made it rain on the Students.
Today (Friday, Feb 10), we have the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland presiding at Mass, and next Friday the Provincial of the USA West Province of the Society of Jesus. But on Thursday, the highest-ranking dude in the JHS universe was the former Librarian of the Nation, who added to his résumé by becoming the Exemplar of Grace Under Pressure, a Hero to the Masses, the Drainer of the Trey. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Gregory Lum!
Paul J. Hogan
on Friday February 10