As the Final Four approaches, I am reminded once again of the 1958-59 California Golden Bears, who won the NCAA tournament, and the 1959-60 Bears, who lost to Cincinnati in the final. Denny Fitzpatrick was a senior on the championship squad.
I mention this because he was my favorite Cal player. Honestly, without looking it up, I can’t name anyone else who played on those teams, outside of Darrall Imhoff, who had a 12-year career in the NBA. I can remember the name of the play-by-play radio announcer, Bud Foster, but the players? Only Fitzpatrick and Imhoff.
This interests me for this reason: if Fitzpatrick’s career ended with the 1959 championship, and he was my favorite player, then I was listening to college basketball on the radio when I was five years old.
Sports memories can do this to you, because the exploits are part of recorded history. Outside of cataclysmic events like an assassination, it’s hard to know when something you remember actually occurred. You remember that bike with the broken spoke, but you can’t narrow down when you actually had that bike, beyond saying it was probably when you were 8 or 9. But it’s a fact that Denny Fitzpatrick was done playing college basketball in March of 1959, which allows me to put a fairly specific date on my memories of him.
I’m not sure which seems more weird, that I listened to Cal basketball on the radio when I was 5, or that I can remember something when I’m 57 that happened when I was 5.