You Can Get There From Here:
Part 5

Barry Buss

Coach Glenn Bassett as a player in his younger days.

Early in the morning, I'm awakened by a knock at my door. It's my Mom. Says it's Coach Bassett on the phone and he sounded upset. Groggy, I scrambled myself together. Picking up the phone, Coach started right in, said we needed to talk immediately. I agreed to meet him later that morning.

Long slow death drive up to Westwood on the 405. How much did he know? Was my college career over before it started? We met at the courts. Coach asked me point blank if I had a problem with drugs. He was the first person to ever ask me this. And all I had to do was say yes but I just couldn't.

I wasn't ready to be that honest. I told him it was a mistake, that I got caught up with some wrong guys and that it wouldn't happen again. He said he had heard differently, that I was the problem and did he need to be concerned. Apologizing profusely, I again pleaded my case, giving Coach my word I wouldn't be a problem.

How Much

How much did he know?

The weekend before college. Its moving day. Moving out, moving in. Packing up my 65 Bug, I drove my personal belongings up to school first. I pulled in to Sproul Hall, one of the four giant residence halls on campus. My room was in the athletes dorm. Closer to school. Closer to practice. Not necessarily in that order.

Walking down the long hall looking for my room, I passed by one emotional scene after another. Tough scenes really. Dads assembling, Mom's decorating. Recreating their children's home life at their new life. It all felt voyeuristic. Watching the hugs. Long hugs, with tears. Proud ones. Sad ones. Serious life check moments. The years. They go by so fast. Little baby girl all grown up. Mom and Dad, rulers of a now empty nest.

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Growing up in Boston and Los Angeles, Barry became a national ranked junior player at the age of 12, and a member of the elite USTA Junior Davis Cup Team. As a college player he tied the legendary Jimmy Connors 22 match win streak at UCLA. He is now an independent teaching pro working in Franklin, Tennessee.

You Can Get There From Here

The harrowing tale of an American junior tennis standout's descent into alcoholism, addiction, bipolar disorder, and eventual hospitalization and his journey toward healing and recovery. Essential reading if you care about alcoholism, recovery and mental health, with competitive tennis forming the backdrop of Buss' life.

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