Mike Brady had fun.
That's what his former teammate Dave Ishmael reminded everyone at the John Carroll School on Friday night. About 350 people had come to see the Patriots in their first game since Mikedied last Saturday from injuries suffered in a car accident late thenight before.
"Mike made basketball fun," Ishmael told to the crowd that included Mike's father, Dennis Brady, and his brother Mark.
"After the last game, there were 12 members of this basketball team," Dave said. "Tonight, you see 11. However, his spirit is with this John Carroll team, and it will always be. This is still a team of 12."
After Dave's dedication, the Patriots went out and won the game. They scored more points than they had all season, beating Friends, 82-54.
"It was the greatest gift Mike could have given us," said Brian Turk, who wore No. 34, Mike's old number. The team elected Mike an honorary captain, and each player will wear his jersey in a game this season.
Before the game, Coach Rich Romanelli feared the Patriots might run out of adrenaline before the game ended. With all they had been through in the past week, Romanelli didn't want the players to put a lot ofpressure on themselves to win.
But the players knew the adrenaline wouldn't run out. "No way," said Brian. "It's gonna be there all year."
For Brian, Dave and the other friends and family Mike left behind, the weeklong mourning period has been filled with reminiscing.
"When you had Mike for a friend, you had a friend for life," said Dennis Brady. "He respected and understood the human condition. He made allowances for all sorts of people in his life."
"He was a great guy. You could never, ever be in a bad mood around him. He always kept you up," said Jenny Lund, who sat next to Mike as they watched "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" at the movies last Friday night.
After that movie, Mike got behind the wheel to drive four of his friends home. Just around midnight, the car crashed into a tree in the 1000block of East MacPhail Road.
Dave Stever was sitting in the back seat right behind the 17-year-old. "I blacked out through most of it,but I remember going down MacPhail Road. Mike drove kind of fast, and we started swerving from side to side. Everyone was telling him to slow down, but he said he couldn't get control of the car. The last thing he said was, 'Hold on.' "
Mike -- who contrary to earlier reports had not been drinking -- was flown by state police MedEvac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
He died the next day.
Of the other four, only Tim Ferriter remains in the hospital. Marcus Brown, Chris Sipes and Dave Stever have been released.Tim's mother, Sandy Ferriter, said he should make a complete recovery.
Wednesday night at the Howard H. McComas III Funeral Home in Abingdon, hundreds of teen-agers visited Dennis and Mary Ellen Brady and their sons, Mark and Sean. Most of them attended funeral services Thursday morning. John Carroll administrators held a prayer service Friday afternoon instead of a scheduled pep rally.
Through it all, Mike's friends remembered how he used to make them laugh. He did goofythings like parking across three spaces in the John Carroll parking lot and throwing off the whole parking sequence. But he made people laugh.
"He would get in trouble, but he got away with a lot, too," Jenny said. "He knew which teachers he could joke with and be funny with. But he knew the line. He pushed it sometimes, but he knew it."
Mike wasn't perfect by any means, but he had a way with people thateveryone from his parents to his friends to his teachers appreciated.
Sometimes he did goof around a little too much. Mike, whose family moved to Box Hill North from Buffalo, N.Y., in 1983, spent his freshman and sophomore years at John Carroll. But when his grades started to slip, he had to go to Bel Air for his junior year.
"That was his dad's doing," said Dennis Brady. "Mike was a pretty bright kid. Up till the seventh grade, he read more books than the whole family. But in the seventh grade, he discovered girls and he found his true vocation."
"There's never been anybody I've known in my whole life like him, and I'm 40 years old," said Romanelli, who had only coached the Patriots for the last two months.
"Other kids are mischievous and get in trouble but they're irritating because they're testing youor they can be mean about what they're doing. With Mike, it wasn't that way. Sure, he irritated you sometimes, but it wasn't that he was testing you to see what the limits were. He was just having fun. He said this would be fun and then he went and did it."