When Stephen Curry, an honor roll student/athlete at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina, started looking at possible college options, the critics were loud and boisterous in promoting the national hardcourt power programs – “Duke?, …. North Carolina?, …. or Kentucky even?” pined the peanut gallery. However, young Curry was not quite as motivated by basketball (the trade selected by his father, Dell, a former Charlotte Hornets guard in the 90s) as he was in the classroom, by the Montessori brand of education instilled in him by his mother, Sonya.
Sonya Curry started a Montessori school in the Charlotte area, and taught her son there in the 90s. So, what is a Montessori school? Well, the Montessori style of education was developed by University of Rome physicist, Maria Montessori at around 1900.
Montessori is an educational program characterized by the following criteria:
– Mixed age classrooms for children 2.5-6 years old
– Student choices of activity from a prescribed range of options
– Uninterrupted blocks of work time, usually 3 hours
– A Constructivist model where students learn from working directly with materials
– Freedom on movement with the classroom
ErnBlog thanks Wikipedia.org for that little history lesson.
But, as for Curry, he attended North Carolina’s little Davidson College, with only 1,800 students, an institution that has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars. “He’ll never make it to the NBA, like his Dad! Going to a preppy little school like that??!” the experts interjected. But in 2008, Stephen led the Wildcats all the way to the Elite Eight.
Now, in his sixth NBA season, Little Curry, who stands only 6’3″, has the Golden State Warriors on the doorstep of the NBA Championship. The Little Engine that Could, which won 67 regular-season games (the most since Michael Jordan’s ’96 Bulls, who seized an NBA-record 72), needs only one more victory, either tonight in Cleveland (9 pm, ABC) or, if necessary, Friday night in Oakland (9 pm, ABC), to secure San Francisco Bay’s first pro hoops title since 1975.
40 years of waiting can produce a lot of pressure, something with which Warriors first-year coach, Steve Kerr is familiar. Kerr, the former Chicago point guard, caught a pass from Michael Jordan in the closing seconds of Game 6 of the ’97 NBA Finals at the United Center, and then rifled home (with Curry-like precision) the championship-winning jumper for the Bulls. In fact, 18 years ago yesterday, Peabody High School principal, Joe Patuleia referred to Jordan’s title-clinching pass as an inspiration to the Tanner graduates in attendance.
This season, Little Curry won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, and starting tonight, he’ll have two opportunities to shoot the Warriors past this generation’s best player on the planet – LeBron James, and his Cleveland Cavaliers.
So what was going on back in 1975? I don’t know because I wasn’t here!
But here are a few interesting facts:
– The Golden State Warriors, coached by Al Attles, swept the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) in the NBA Finals behind another sharpshooter – Rick Barry.
– Richard Nixon, who had chosen not to entertain impeachment proceedings back in 1974, turned over the White House to new President Gerald Ford, who by 1975, was in the middle of a very uninspiring and unproductive Presidency. However, President Ford did make some memorable contributions to comedy, highlighted by this “tumble” from Air Force One:
In NBC’s brand new live comedy program, Saturday Night Live, Chevy Chase depicted the event in hilarious fashion.
However, the late Ford may have suggested that his Presidency was not exactly uneventful. 2 different assassins tried to shoot him in 1975, one of which was Charles Manson in Sacramento.
– The Boston Red Sox won the American League pennant, and took on the Cincinnati “Big Red(s) Machine”, led by Pete Rose and Johnny Bench, in the World Series. All looked lost for Boston at Fenway Park on the last Saturday night in October when Bernie Carbo tied Game 6 with a 9th-inning homer. Then in the 12th inning, in dramatic style, New Hampshire native, catcher Carlton Fisk launched, in the words of Sox voice, Dick Stockton, “a long fly ball, down the left-field line. Will it stay fairrrr???! YES!!! … The Red Sox win!!!”
Although the Sox lost the seventh and final game, Carlton Fisk’s jumping and waving of his arms, successfully attempting to will his fly ball toward the foul pole, and the resulting Fenway celebration was embraced by millions on television. In a generation where football was threatening to replace baseball as America’s pastime, the ’75 World Series inspired a resurgence in hardball popularity, as the Major League’s characters started to become more likable and human.
– Steven Spielberg, who had taken over the Cape Cod island of Martha’s Vineyard the prior summer, released his first epic film – “Jaws” about a shark with a really bad temper.
– The Irish Republican Army (“IRA”) bomb the London Hilton Hotel, killing 2 and injuring 63.
– The CBS game show “The Price is Right” became so popular that it was expanded from 30 minutes to a full hour.
– Spanish dictator Francisco Franco dies, and is replaced by King Juan Carlos, who reigns until 2014. In the meantime, neighboring Portugal tossed out its prime minister, Vasco Goncalves.
– The NFL’s New Orleans Saints move into the brand new “Superdome”.
– Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa goes missing, never to be seen again.
Queen’s “We Are the Champions!” randomly came up in iTunes during my commute this morning, although last week, when the Cavaliers took a 2-1 Finals lead over Golden State, it remarkably came up then as well, and among 680 songs! So I don’t know exactly what that represents? Is it good for the Cavs, the Warriors, … or even the Chicago Blackhawks, who took home Lord Stanley’s Cup last night? I guess we’ll have to see.