Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Princeton Time Opinion

October 21, 2011

Some things just go together — like basketball and me

PRINCETON — I live for this time of the year. The leaves are falling, footballs are soaring through the air, and another generation of athletes is sprinting up the collegiate hardwood, eager to begin another college basketball season.

For the longest time, I was one of them as a manager at the University of Charleston under the tutelage of former Marshall coach Greg White and his assistants Todd Baxter, Nathan Barner, and Lester Raines.

I started as a manager during my sophomore year. The first thing that I honestly remember is Coach White scaring me to death. The intensity with which he coached just absolutely unnerved me. Oh, and the dunking. In high school, we had one guy that could dunk; in college, almost everyone could cram it down in practice.

We played in a tournament in Salem for my first game and beat a pretty decent Delta State team. Because UC had already done a tournament, we just called it regular game from a neutral site.

On the way back, my wife and I exchanged text messages and started dating when I got back to campus. So, when people asked us how long we had been dating, we were never really sure. It was either the very late 14th of December or way early on the 15th.

From there, I basically just learned what not to do, the hard way for the rest of that season. The only really cool thing was beating West Virginia State twice and getting to be in the Civic Center for the WVIAC tournament.

I brought a suit for the game. Another random thing: I wore the same suit to interview for the job with the Times and when I married my wife.

My junior year, we weren’t very good. We lost five seniors, our two best returning players got hurt and never played. Also, a guy that could have been a star left the program.

But we had fun.

Senior year was the best, though. The manager that worked with me was really cool and easy to deal with. I had a best friend on the team, and the coaching staff was cool enough to let me leave the team for a few days to get married and to return a day or two late from Christmas because I was on a honeymoon.

That’s probably the thing about basketball. It wasn’t really winning that I liked; it was that the entire life I have involves basketball in some way. You already know that I started dating my wife right after I started as a manager and that I only have one suit, which I bought for a tournament game.

Heck, even my writing career has basketball involved because  I got my start in journalism writing game recaps for the basketball team. Most of the clothes that I wear even are from basketball.

Its like peanut butter and jelly or parmesan cheese and bacon bits, some things just go together like basketball and me. Go Golden Eagles.

Matt Christian is a Princeton Times reporter. Contact him at

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