talking smack as likes to do when his team pulls ahead -- to the chagrin
of his coach.
The Western State Conference Southern Division Player of the Year
wasn't carrying the offense, finishing with only 11 points, off his
season average of 18.7.
But, wait. It's all relative.
In that game, which GCC won, 53-52, Schnyder's 11 points still
accounted for about 20% of his team's scoring, right?
Use some perspective.
The 20-year-old had just checked his mother into the hospital again
before the game. His thoughts were with her.
Understand, Schnyder's mother, 59-year-old Annie Slaughter, was
stricken with multiple sclerosis three years ago. The disease attacked
her nervous system, hindering her speech and leaving her mostly
Schnyder's father, Leo Schnyder, did most of the caring for Slaughter.
But in April, Leo Schnyder suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving
Michael as his mother's primary care-giver.
Beauchemin put it like this: "There are 30-year-olds with a solid
foundation who wouldn't be able to deal with it all as well as
[Schnyder]. And there's 20-year-olds who have it hard enough just going
to school and playing basketball."
COPING WITH ADVERSITIES
It's been far from easy, but the 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has dealt
with the incessant pressure and stress and worry.
He does it by reminding himself that this -- college basketball -- is
what his father hoped he would do when heintroduced Michael to the game
at the age of 7.
He does it by always keeping his pager within hearing distance, so he
can be contacted if his mother needs him. And by scheduling his day --
school, basketball and transportation between his home in South Central
L.A. and GCC -- according to how flexible the family's already generous
nurse, Heather Campbell, can be that particular day.
He's also done it with some help from teammates, who have kept
Schnyder's situation from becoming a distraction.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
In that first-round game Feb. 24, Schnyder's team, as it has all
season, held its course.
Marc Walters contributed 15 points. DeJon Lee hit the game-clincher