‘Twas the night before Christmas at the AT&T Center,
Things were winding down for the first cold of winter;
The doors had been closed and the staff were all out,
But I made my way in to take a walk about.
The halls like a ghost town, the lounge had no man;
No Bonner, no Weiss, no Elliott, no Land;
I expected any moment to be sent into the night,
But turn after turn no usher in sight.
But off in the distance I heard a small holler,
It arose with each step and so I continued to follow;
From outside Whataburger the noise came, I was certain,
I ran toward the arena and pushed on through the curtain.
The light shone from the rafters and bounced off the floor,
So bright that I struggled to see what was in store;
The court was set up for the Spurs to come play,
But alas, there was no game scheduled this day.
But there he stood alone at courtside- Coach Pop!
And when his glance crossed my path he motioned to stop.
With a clap of his hands the men entered the court,
It was such a surprise I found myself out of sorts.
“Dejounte, Keldon, Derrick, Jakob and Tre,
Grab Lonnie, Keita, Doug, and Devin on your way,
Drew, Bryn, Josh, and Thad have what we need,
Now let’s get Joe, Jock, Zach, and Devontae up to speed.”
And quick as a flash they started on drills,
With movement and grace- no flash, no frills.
The passes were glorious, the shots smooth and pure,
Each play designed to make the opponent unsure.
And ball after ball the net made such a swish,
This was much better than anything I’d ever wished;
Caught in amazement I was literally floored,
As I made way to seats I could never afford.
A madness washed over me, I felt I was drunk when
The t-shirts -no sleeves, grins framed in their faces,
In a moment these three would be off to the races.
With a look of joy Manu took hold of the ball,
And held it as if it was taking in all;
Then to center court to join the hullabaloo,
With a wink they donned jerseys and white high top shoes.
Pop pointed and gestured, then yelled at the crew,
“There’s too much ‘poor me’, where the hell’s the ‘screw you’?
It’s time to show me that you really care.
Come on, I want to see some nasty out there.”
And the men upped the tempo, threw the ball ‘round the horn,
Still the game went on through the night until morn;
With so many who wanted to be here but missed them,
It was clear that those present believed in the system.
Pop spoke no more words but observed his dear brood,
And then a small grin appeared defining his mood;
He knew he was getting the best of each man,
And the time had come for the team to disband.
He gathered them round and hugged each one in turn.
He said, “Thank you for coming but before we adjourn;
Just one last thought before we say goodbye,
Enjoy Christmas Day off because Saturday we LET IT FLY!”
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