Tonight, one of the most important annual events in my home state occurs, as the Purdue men’s basketball team travels to Bloomington to take on that hated Other School.
(I laughed, typing that. The fans do hate each other, but right now my dog Luke is sleeping under his IU blanket. It is, of course, fit for a dog.)
The Boilermakers, ranked 7th in the country according to the coaches’ poll, are expected to beat the hapless Hoosiers, but it will probably be a knockdown dragout battle. You can catch it on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Eastern. I’ll be watching at the Colonial Inn downtown.
Both teams feature homegrown talent. Seven members of Indiana’s squad are in-state products, while Purdue boasts ten local boys—among them Chris Kramer of Huntington, who’s a finalist for the senior class award sponsored by a chain of home improvement stores. The winner is partly determined by fan voting; go here.
Kramer’s profile details a lot of things I didn’t know about his community involvement. He’s active with the Boys and Girls Club, an after-school agency for kids at risk. That means something to me, because it’s the favorite charity of my fictional hero Kent Kessler, a former Major League Baseball player. Boys and Girls Clubs provide sports and recreational opportunities to kids, as well as academic tutoring and mentoring, a chance to succeed. Sometimes the B&GC makes a difference in whether a kid stays in school or drops out, gets a decent job or turns criminal; a kid needs someone to take an interest in her, and Chris Kramer does.
He’s also active with the Southside Community Center (child abuse prevention, youth development, food pantry and family support) and Special Olympics. He majors in Organizational Development and Supervision at Purdue and carries a 3.12 cumulative grade point average.
He may not be that thrilled to be featured in a Gay Spirit Diary, but tough luck, bud. He’s awfully cute; this is not my fault. Best of all, he epitomizes what Purdue basketball is all about: tenacious defense, clutch shooting, self-sacrifice, teamwork, all while cutting it with the books.
I’m proud of him. I hope he has every success.
And let no reviewer on Amazon criticize the choice of a smart, principled, athletic hero; such men do exist, despite the all-pervasive culture that tries to drag them down. Every one of the Lowe’s senior all-stars deserves our accolades; Kramer’s just one of nine outstanding players who are becoming outstanding men. “Classroom. Community. Character. Competition.” — That’s the slogan for this website that hopes to do something good.
Go, vote for Chris Kramer or anyone else who strikes your fancy. In this age of horrible dehumanization, take a minute to reward some young guys for doing good. Text M7 to 74567.
Every photo I’ve ever seen of Kramer shows his tongue hanging out. I mean, what’s not to like? GO BOILERS!++