Now, granted the movie takes some liberties with the original story (the coach in real life really didn't have a questionable past like Gene Hackman's character), but still the parallels to my recent experience trend together. You see, when I returned from Boston, just a day or two after learning my cancer was not only in my hip but up in my chest and possibly in my skull, it was a pretty down time - the lowest of my life. Yes, I kept an optimistic persona about me to friends, co-workers, and family, but I knew deep inside that I was forever changed, and there was a possibility my odds weren't going to be so good. I even spent some time crying - a lot. Looking at the possibility of my end was frightening, and angering - because I love life, and for it to end before I was ready to end it on my terms gave me the feeling that I was in the midst of a true "David vs. Goliath" Story.
Most of you know I married into an Evansville, Indiana family with some history of basketball - between my Father-in-law as a former HS player and HS coach, with his brothers playing at the HS level, as well as a brother-in-law who was a heck of a 3 point shooter when in HS, coupled with their universal love of Bobby Knight and all things IU - you get the picture. On top of that, during my attendance at the "Harvard of the Midwest" a.k.a. "Testicle Tech" (that's Ball State to the rest of you) my alma mater had some good teams which whipped me into a full appreciation of Indiana basketball fever. Also, as I mentioned above, my small town in Ohio was the Buckeye version of this hysteria - so basketball references and allegories run strong in these veins. So how does this tie this back to my cancer experience (this is a cancer blog, right?) In basketball terms, when I returned from Boston with my uncertain future I got pulled into the locker room at "halftime" of my life (37 years) and got kicked in the unmentionables by cancer - hard. So hard that there was a 43% (ish) possibility that my chemotherapy wouldn't work and I'd be looking at not making the second half starting team.
So, there I am, first week in June, traveling to Lutheran Hospital in Denver to get a PetScan to see the extent of my cancer and just how bad it was. All the tests in Boston were not 100 percent confirmed, as this was the one final step in the diagnosis journey which would let my team of oncologists in Denver know what to do next, and what the options were. I knew this was the big test, and was scared beyond your wildest dreams.
Gene summed it up best at the end of this clip......