‘’Finding Forrester’ sadly reminds me of Bryan Randall

I first met Bryan on an afternoon in 1984 in the place we both felt most at comfortable: the basketball court.  From our first encounter, there was something different about Bryan that left a deep personal connection – a core impression, really – like we’d been waiting 18 years for the time when our divergent backgrounds would cross and our orbits would again sync together as if pre-planned, this time in a little solar system that was Dartmouth basketball.

On the top level of Alumni Gym there was a forgotten basketball court with some wooden backboards surrounded by stuffy air, wrestling mats and gymnastics equipment.  Being gym rats at heart, and looking for solitude, we both found ourselves shooting baskets there one afternoon during freshman week.  After sizing each other up, we eventually spoke and began playing the first of many (increasingly vigorous) games of one-on-one. At the end of the day, he just introduced himself as “Ice.”  I don’t know how many days it took for me to learn his real name, but I knew he played a brand of cool and intense basketball that I’d never seen before and so “Ice” just seemed to fit.  I was equally puzzling to him, I suppose, because smiling and laughing he quickly nicknamed me “Utah” – apparently it was funny that a kid like me from Utah could play basketball or sync with a much better player from Buffalo the way we did on the court.

Of course, anyone who played basketball with Bryan understands that he had a sixth sense – a form of basketball genius – that made his teammates around him expect any pass, at any time, from any place on the court.  And most fun of all, when he got a rebound or a steal it was time to run.  That’s when Ice and I spoke the same unspoken language.  He had a “look.” His eyes got big and happy, his head tilted away, his face glowed, his body language changed, and he paused slightly as he would dribble or look off defenders for the next move.  And if you read this look correctly and made the right cut he would get you the ball for an easy basket — often followed by another look that, for me, was a reassuring pat on the back letting you know you were playing his higher brand of ball!  But whether it was in front of a tiny crowd in the early years at alumni gym (we won 5 games that first year) or at the biggest moments or most important games, somehow with Ice it always seemed as natural and fluid as two kids who had been playing pick-up basketball their whole life.  That was the basketball connection.  That was basketball heaven.  That was Ice.

Friendship with him off the court could be just as natural, and perhaps just as unexpected.  I’m certain my story of friendship with Bryan is just one of hundreds of similar stories both on and off the court.  He was charismatic and shy; energetic and withdrawn; happy and heavy; enormously popular yet introverted.  But his personality and his talents were special in ways that allowed him to make friendships and connections across a range of Dartmouth classmates.  Fortunately for me, it included finding unexpected chemistry with one kid from Utah that ran much deeper and much truer than just a teammate or pick-up basketball game friendship. That was Bryan.  We miss him.

I had a government class with John Mackey ‘88; when therapist at Dick‘s house put me on imipramine to intervene on a depression it had the impact of one not doing my work and two  talking a lot of smack in class. One such example was in Sullivan‘s government class were first i came late and left my car in a no parking zone with flashers on and then the next made some joke about spring forward fall back or spring forward fall back to sleep; and then the next session something about the word baseline as used in a political sense but I gave some really elaborate basketball analogy and then after class asked Mackey what he thought and he politely said it was cool. By Halloween  I had been expelled or at least encouraged to report back to student health to sleep off the undesired impacts of the tricyclic.

Likewise i remember meeting Paul Cormier and taking a basketball off his trophy case and spinning it on my finger I said I thought he was given it for helping Villanova win a national championship but he said it was from a local event.

Two years later Randall and Mackey and Jim Barton led Dartmouth to within one bucket of the ivy league championship .

they have not come anywhere near that since then 30 years.
Meanwhile if you can follow me I have a neighbor Mac Beasley who played basketball for Cornell and tried to cover Rudy LaRusso ‘59 who he said was kind of a cheap shot artist.

Dartmouth went to the NCAA tournament and in fact the championship game in the Warriors I believe it’s 1940 and 1942. Actually somehow I think I was just speaking with an elder who went to one of those games. 

My truncated story about Don Cherry appeared around the same time is Bryan Randall appeared on the cover of Dartmouth alumni magazine.

I may have met the man I guess I would say without doing any research or truly recalling what I would’ve read in that article but maybe more or less of those same pharmaceuticals could’ve helped in this case.

tomorrow I will look for a photo of my parents and I at Mountain View salon freshman parents weekend.

I saw in the theater finding Forrester with them in 2000. Since them Iz is gone hal willner is gone— it was icing on the cake that I noticed Bill Frisell’‘s name in the credit and felt that much closer to this movie.

this is a HIPAA violation but: a member of the Dartmouth NCAA finals team was in Cooper Hospital near the end of his life and I did not speak with him directly but we communicated through his doctor by then fiancé. he was one of the people who was stationed at Dartmouth after the war which is to say Dartmouth was using some ringers. 

Gunn had a person named Keith Mackey who is probably the second best player I was on a court with or practice.

Terry and I saw Bill Frisell in Napa in July maybe 10 years ago. Eight.

and 1: only two people in the world know that my nickname also was “ice”.

andand: In the movie the point guard misses two free throws and his team loses the state title and everyone thinks he did it on purpose because the school dissed him or the one douche bag teacher did; And the buffalo newspaper relates about Brian Randall in the state championship in 1984:

The play they all remember, the play that defined Bryan Randall the basketball player, occurred in the waning seconds of the state public school title game of 1984.

Sweet Home was down a point and frantically defending a Long Beach inbounds pass. The Panthers’ pressure forced a long heave, which Jim Kwitchoff deflected and Randall recovered 80 feet from the basket.

Randall set off upcourt in a race against time, pulled up just inside the key, eyed the rim and leaped. Consider the circumstances. The state title is on the line. The best player in Western New York has the ball in his hands. The clock is speeding to zero. What does Randall do? He dishes off midair to Jerry Kopydlowski, who drains a buzzer-beating 5-footer good for a 51-50 victory.

“Another player playing the point guard would want to take that shot for the glory,” Jack Walko, the coach of that Sweet Home team, said Tuesday. “Bryan passed it off.”

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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