I appreciate the seamless flow of a well-executed play, celebrate the flat-out effort of a starter playing an entire game, marvel at acrobatic dunks, but essentially know nothing about the game. I have seen the miracle shot launched from half court at Proctor– DJ Rankin’s buzzer beater earlier in the season. And grit? All I have to do is think back to the girls’ win at KUA during the madness of the March playoffs.
Why am I not writing about baseball? This is the opening week of the 162 game, best life-lesson season I know, and the Red Sox are hustling through first games. I could write about Holt or Shaw or Betts or Big Papi. Or mutter about Buchholz’s pitching. I want to write about opening day and April’s curious ability to seed hope in the baseball fan after a long winter, but I need to write about the selfless pass.
Flicked in the final seconds of Villanova’s win over the North Carolina Tar Heels, the selfless pass was not simply a basketball moment generated by Ryan Arcidiacono to set up Kris Jenkins for the winning shot. It was more. Sports can be redacted to simply athleticism, entertainment, and blowing off steam if the lessons do not transcend the game. For the players, the lessons are more easily discernable and extractable. For the spectator it is rarer to get beyond the threshold of thrill or despair or joy. That final set-up moment in the NCAA championship game was that rare moment.
The selfless pass.
I have read about it, watched it, seen interviews of players talking about it, and it resonates and arcs far beyond the court. It engenders questions: Who is making the selfless pass? Which students? Who among the adults? The politicians? Can I make the selfless pass? What moments transcend the rhythm of the normal to become something special? Does Edna sitting on the steps by the cookie table passing out greetings and laughter have the characteristics of the selfless pass? (I think so.) Does Cope singing in assembly or Sam speaking to visiting families on Revisit Day also carry selflessness’s particular velocity? (I believe so.) In an age and time where so much seems to be the antithesis of selflessness, the selfless pass has been a reminder of a greater grace.
Thank you, Ryan Arcidiacono, for that reminder.
Mike Henriques P'11, P'15
Proctor Academy Head of School