There are some things that Mark Flavin will always remember. Like the cold winter’s eve on January 21, 2004, in tiny Case Gymnasium, when he played the half of his life.
Taking the floor in front of a home-state crowd that included his former coach from his playing days at Weymouth High, the current Weymouth Wildcats basketball team, a host of friends and family, and most importantly, his life-long best friend Dave Donnellan – a constant presence in the stands throughout his career – Flavin went beast-mode.
Against a BU squad that would close out the regular season winning 22 of its last 23 games and rank in the top 30 in the AP Polls, and a roster of All-Conference caliber players – including five forwards who would earn All-Conference honors during their careers – it was Flavin, a red-shirt junior who spent most of his first three seasons in college watching from the sidelines, who was the best player on the court that day.
Surrounded, swarmed and hacked every time he touched the ball, he was unstoppable. By the time the half-time buzzer sounded, Flavin, a 6’11’” 250 pound center, had bulldozed and bludgeoned his way to 20 points on 7-10 shooting in the first half, while single-handedly landing virtually the entire Terriers front-court in foul trouble.
“[Boston University forward] Rashad Bell leaned over to me when I was shooting free-throws and said ‘you’re going for 50 tonight, aren’t you?’” said Flavin with a chuckle. “I thought I was.”
Almost nine years later, standing under a cold blue sky in Artesani Park, Brighton, looking out over the Charles River, he remembered the game vividly.
“At half-time I was exhausted – just dying in the locker room. I was pounding Gatorades.”
Then there are the things Flavin will never be able to forget. Like the phone call he received on December 16th, 2004 – almost a year after his heroics – telling him that Donnellan, who had stood by Flavin through thick and thin – picking him up when his life was at its darkest – had taken his own life.
“I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life – the feeling; I couldn’t breath. ‘Devastated,’ ‘heart-broken,’ ‘lost’ – doesn’t begin to describe it,” he said, staring across the dark, choppy water, towards the far bank. Continue reading “Out of the Darkness: Former Maine Black Bear Mark Flavin walks in remembrance of his best friend.”