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On the road with Boom
And he pops up everywhere. When Maryland’s volleyball team played in Richmond this season, he was there to support his friends with homemade signs. There was the softball game in the spring when he was tossed from his seat behind the plate.
“I was saying, ‘You can’t hit. You can’t hit,’ ” Osby recalls. “They said, ‘You can’t talk to her. That’s distracting.’ I said, ‘That’s the point. Do you know what they do to us at free throws? Are you kidding?’ ”
Soon the ride is over. You are back in the loading dock, and Osby is eager to share a glimpse of a Facebook group dedicated to him. He laughs at a caption, “One day Boom decided to move some rocks. The result was the Grand Canyon.” It was posted before Osby even played a game at Maryland, which astonishes him.
Another gem, this one posted by forward Landon Milbourne: “His house has no doors, only walls he walks through.”
Zaniness is part of the deal with Osby, but so is his rationality. He is a relentless practice player eager to learn. But as coach Gary Williams learned last season, Osby likes to know why a play works, much like how he enjoys understanding the intricacy of an engine.
The curiosity permeates the rest of his life, areas in which his perceptiveness is particularly potent.
“All he wants to be able to do is to have a dialogue,” Williams says. “He doesn’t want someone to say you have to do this, you have to cut your hair. Like a lot of people who are intelligent, he doesn’t like to be told what to do. They would rather reason their way through it. … He’s just a little off-the-wall sometimes.”
Expect Osby to conform and you will be forever flummoxed. Embrace him for who he is and you get to know a nuanced person.
“Life is about relationships, man,” Boom says. “The more good relationships you have, the easier life is going to go. I don’t know, man, just having bad relationships, that’s just not the way to do it.”
Boom has a meeting, so he says goodbye with his unforgettable smile but not without thanking you for the fifth time for taking a ride with him.
His words make such sense; his outsized presence puts everyone at ease. And as you drive off, you feel just a bit more secure knowing you’re sharing the road of life with such a remarkable person.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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