"Truth is stranger than fiction...because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't." BYU fans from around the world were re-introduced to this Mark Twain concept with the awe-inspiring story of Craig Cusick. Mere hours after being informed that his father had cancer, the BYU guard delivered the game-winning basket to seal a Cougar victory over Utah State. If the story were a movie, it would be a straight-to-Disney Channel release.
As his father watched from the confines of his hospital bed, Cusick struggled mightily from the field during his first 26-plus minutes of action. And who could blame him? But, as the clock was descending toward zero, and Matt Carlino last second shot attempt was in the air, Craig Cusick was in the right place at the right time. The ball careened off the front of the iron, right into the hands of Cusick, who tossed it into the basket with a single, fluid motion. Suddenly, no one remembered the previous six shots Cusick had taken and missed. And on the seventh shot, the Marriott Center erupted with noise.
The emotion poured out of Dave Rose and company for they knew what had just transpired and what it meant, even if the rest of the country did not. When asked in the post-game press conference the victory seemingly meant more than met the eye, Cusick refused to give detail as to what had transpired. It was not about him, or his story, but the team as a whole. What better way to show Cusick's dedication to the concept of team and his desire lift others, not himself.
When Craig returned to the hospital room following the game, I'm sure the embrace was tender and unspeakably moving. In our day and age, it is improper to say the heavens have anything to do with sports. The vast majority of the time this is a correct assumption. But the events of Tuesday night in Provo make you wonder if we witnessed the exception. The exception had nothing to do with BYU and everything to do with Craig Cusick and his grieving family. One thing's for sure, the Cusick family and BYU Nation as a whole will never forget the events of February 19, 2013.
Post Script: Craig Cusick visited with the folks from ESPN's SportsCenter yesterday afternoon: