Today is normally one of the most exciting times for me as a sports fan. March Madness. Absolutely great time watching games all day long and some people watching too (at a local establishment). These two days of the tournament are perhaps my favorite sports time of the year.
The first day this year has been a bit mixed. Not from the tournament standpoinT but for a completely different reason altogether.
Last month I wrote about my friend Jess’ little cousin, Brandon Bird-Chastain. He’s a big Gonzaga fan. My friend Jess has been keeping me abreast of his health status. Unfortunately, the last few days Brandon’s condition had worsened. This morning, Brandon died.
It only seems fitting that Gonzaga played today.
And it’s even more fitting that Gonzaga won……in convincing fashion.
Coach Mark Few informed his players about Brandon’s death before the game. Knowing this, I watched the game against West Virginia in earnest. While many national and regional pundits were talking about the actions on the court of the Bulldogs, I watched them play from the inside. From the heart.
Make no mistake. I am “not” a Gonzaga fan. My allegiance lies with Arizona. But when you live in Gonzaga’s city, you pay attention. And I have watched enough of their games this year to say that I have never seen them play as “INSPIRED” this year as I did tonight.
That is it in a nutshell. They were “INSPIRED”.
They played with drive, determination, physicality, consistency, confidence and any other positive adjective you can think of. That was Gonzaga tonight.
The media may not see it like that. They’ll analyze the stats and watch the film. Even giving the “keys” to the victory, if you will. Maybe the Gonzaga coaches and players don’t even see it that way. But I do. The Zags played from their heart tonight. And tonight only, or maybe the whole tournament if they keep playing like this, I’ll be a Zags fan.
Brandon Bird-Chastain inspired me to become one.
Rest In Peace Brandon. I am “INSPIRED”
If you want to learn more about Brandon, please check out his website: www.brandonscancerwars.com
A few tweets from the Twitterverse:
RIP Brandon Bird-Chastain I know your in a better place. I can only dream of being as strong as you. You can go play now.—
Marissa Nicole (@MacRizzyy) March 16, 2012
We have lost a true warrior today. RIP Brandon Bird.—
Andy Hoenike (@BiggAndy76) March 15, 2012
RIP Brandon Bird-Chastain. No 11yr old should have to face cancer 3x in such a short life—
Mitch Osako (@mitchopalooza) March 15, 2012
Saddened to learn that little Brandon Chastain, a member of the #Bulldogs family, passed away at the age of 11 from brain cancer.RIP Brandon—
Kendall Jones (@Newsboysfan15) March 15, 2012
I think it's so sweet that Gonzaga dedicated their season to Brandon Chastain. He died this morning from brain cancer & he was only 11.—
Victoria Zickgraf (@Vzickgraf) March 15, 2012
#PRETTIESTANGEL Brandon Chastain. Gonzaga's biggest fan. RIP . Cancer sucks—
Susan Collard (@osuseq) March 15, 2012
the story about Brandon Chastain was sad 😦 i dont like Gonzaga but they have sum to play for farreal—
Brenden Breezy Rye (@THTblasianB_RYE) March 15, 2012
Lost a special little boy today in Spokane. Brandon Bird Chastain fought cancer three times and past away this AM. God bless Jedi. Go Zags.—
Jamie Patrick (@jpats1818) March 15, 2012