I didn’t meet Mark until long after he played basketball at Marquette University, although he was able to share glimpses of that part of his life with me through stories, friendships with his teammates, and attendance as a family at Marquette basketball alumni events. People have asked me, “Did he play?” and honestly, I don’t know a lot about his official career in terms of games or even minutes played. What I do know, is that it took an incredible amount of perseverance, especially for someone of his size and stature to walk on and secure a spot on an elite NCAA division one basketball team, a success that Mark was exceptionally proud of. Mark described to me in great detail the moment that he learned all of his hard work, focus and determination had paid off, that he had made the team. His eyes sparkled when he spoke of this occasion…just like Cooper’s do now when he recounts the events of his basketball games. Mark always joked that he married me for my height… “With her height, and my jumper, we’ll be sure to have a son in the NBA.” Maybe, maybe not. But what we do have is an incredible little boy who is so much like his daddy that my heart overflows with love for him…I admire in him those same qualities and talents that his dad possessed and I can’t wait to see what his future holds. For now, its two tickets to tonight’s Marquette game and a very special date with his mommy…but I have this sneaking suspicion that #33 might be right there alongside us.