Coppola: A Night in “Fantasyland”

Every time I turn off of Southern Blvd. in the Bronx and pass through the gates of Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus, I feel as if I have entered into, “Disney’s Fantasyland.” The beautiful campus in the Bronx, is everything you would imagine how a college campus appears in the heart of mid-America;

Amazingly well kept landscaping, enhances the magnificent architecture of the century old buildings. Watching a football game in that setting, with the changing of the leaves in the Fall at Jack Coffey Field, is something I have come to love. Something everyone should experience, at least once.

Last night, I came to see a basketball game with Rich Mancuso, who was covering the event at the cozy and loud Rose Hill Gymnasium. Dating back to when it opened in 1925, it is the oldest on-campus venue currently in use by a NCAA Division I basketball team. If those beautiful stone walls could only talk.

Having played basketball in High School and later refereeing some girls junior high games, for a few years, I figured it would be fun to watch something I knew a little bit about. A change of pace for me from baseball, for one night. Boy has the game changed from what I remembered.

The team colors of Fordham in White and Sacred Heart in red, streaked back and forth, across the court, mixing into a blur of pink to my eyes. The speed and amazing athleticism of these gifted young men, was outstanding and the calibre of play was excellent. The game was fast and above the rim, with a never ending ballet of soaring leaps and graceful movements, as these young players at times, seemed to float in the air.

When the baseball season begins, it will look like slow motion.

But what stood out to me, was the totality of what I was experiencing. The band was playing loudly, the cheerleaders were entertaining and the very loud and enthusiastic crowd, who were very much into the whole crazy night.

Me too! Non stop action to say the least. I was taking it all in and then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was over. That was the only sad part of the night for me. I hated to see it end, especially when Sacred Heart came from behind and scored the winning basket, with two seconds left in the game.

You could say, Sacred Heart, broke my heart.

Today, things have become so complicated and stressful in our adult lives. To be able to get lost in a simple event on one night, to be among these brilliant young college students, was magic. It made me think of the innocence and dreams of youth and how I miss that part of my life.

It brought back good memories and put a much needed smile to my face. Think I will do this a lot more.

Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and advanced scout for numerous teams in Major League Baseball

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