On the 10th of December, a cold Midwest night,
This is an article from the Dec. 27, 2010 issue
A tiny college begins its Christmastime rite.
For two decades the school, Taylor University by name,
Has tipped off the holidays at a basketball game.
It's called Silent Night, and you needn't be Christian
To appreciate this quirky, warm-hearted tradition.
Most on campus attend, students come in pajamas—
Teens who look ready to be tucked in by their mamas.
When the teams begin playing, here's how it works:
Until the Trojans score 10, the gym's quiet as church.
You've not seen a crowd be so silent, so meek;
Barely a sound can be heard, save sneakers that squeak.
But when that 10th point is scored, there arises such clatter
That if you're in Odle Arena, your eardrums might shatter.
The fans cheer wildly, on and on without pause
Like they'd seen an in-your-face dunk performed by S. Claus.
Upland, Indiana, is where this custom takes place,
Where Taylor unfailingly revels with grace.
The school warns opponents that the din will grow hearty
So they're cool when the game becomes a loud Christmas party.
This year point 10 came from a guard, Casey Coons,
And it prompted the crowd to go crazy as loons.
But the Trojans weren't finished, they won 112--67;
Their performance this night was a slice of pure heaven.
Ohio State--Marion was the team that they blitzed,
But it wasn't OS--M's fault; Taylor just couldn't miss.
Its field goal percentage neared 70 in the rout.
You might say that they shot the Christmas lights out.
When the game's nearly over, no matter the score,
The fans in the stands will make your heart soar.
They lock arms with each other, swaying left and then right;
Transformed from crowd into choir, all sing Silent Night.
Taylor's not big-time, not Georgetown or Louisville;
They're more reminiscent of those Whos down in Whoville.
Everyone is infused with the holiday spirit.
You can see it and feel it and most of all hear it.
You also should know that amid all the fun,
Taylor folks don't forget the less fortunate ones.
Coach Paul Patterson wore no shoes at the game
As a reminder that some folk have none to their name.
He asked for donations, about the cost of a treat,
To be given to a charity called Samaritan's Feet.
And wouldn't you know that those Trojans and followers
Came through to the tune of nearly two thousand dollars?
When the game finally ends, the campus party does not.
There are cookies and gingerbread and cider that's hot,
And town children tell Santa about their wants more than needs,
Then listen to the school president, and the Christmas story he reads.
The celebration's fame has shot upward in spiral:
A Silent Night video has this year gone viral.
Like St. Nick calls reindeer, Taylor lists where it's been:
On YouTube! On Yahoo! And on CNN!
But the reason for this, it ought to be mentioned,
Is not to find ways to get media attention.
Taylor reminds us that in sports there remain places still
To find people whose hearts are filled with goodwill.
So follow their lead if your world's feeling chilly,
Be sentimental, be generous, and a little bit silly.
May your putts all be perfect, may your jump shots all fall.
May this be the season your team wins it all.
And as the year ends, I would be remiss
If I didn't thank you all for visiting this
Point After page, where we oft muse on failures;
We wish you success this new year—from both of us Taylors.
If you want to comment on Point After or suggest a topic, send an e-mail to PointAfter@si.timeinc.com