Thursday, March 21, 2013

The other side of the coin

We're in the middle of the greatest basketball week of the greatest basketball month of the year. There is no debating this. Sure, the quality of play may get better during the NCAA Tournament's second weekend but there's really nothing like the quantity, drama and excitement provided by the first four days of the NCAA Tournament. As sports fans, we love the games, the upsets and the buzzer beaters. Oh the buzzer beaters.



Well, I'm here to rain on the buzzer beating parade a bit. Buzzer beaters aren't always great. With the jubilation that comes from a buzzer beating shot also comes despair. The despair of a team on the edge of victory who suddenly, improbably has that victory snatched from them on what quite often is a lucky shot. I can speak to this...because I lost two games during my high school career on highly improbable buzzer beaters.

The first occurred during my senior year. We were playing one of the better teams in our conference on the road. I scored my career high and knocked down two free throws with 6 seconds left to put us up by two. We were right on the edge of securing a major victory in what had been a seemingly cursed season (our best player tore his ACL for the second time during the summer and our second best player died in a car accident). Yet, it was not to be. Our opponent (Cocoa High) had one last possession. And on that last possession a player who had been scoreless all game long received a pass at just beyond half court, took two dribbles and flung a 25 footer. Bang. His three pointer was good. The crowd went nuts and rushed the floor. My teammates and I walked off with another loss in a season that quite often went from bad to worse.

Somehow, that's not the most heartbreaking loss of my high school career. That would come one year earlier against our biggest rival (Greg's alma mater). These two school were separated by only a few miles so most of the kids knew each other. And this year, both teams were really good. In fact, both teams were ranked in the state during various times throughout the year (in Florida's two highest classifications at the time)and this game would determine the conference leader. The game was a tightly contested game played in our home gym. Both teams traded the lead back and forth. Until our starting point guard (I was more of a two guard as a junior) hit a three to put us up one with just over a second left. What followed is something that is still burned into my memory almost twenty years later. Our opponent inbounded the ball to their point guard (who I went to junior high with) who took one dribble and then jumped off of one foot from in between the free throw line and three point line as he launched a shot from 75-80 feet from his basket. You can guess what happened next. The ball was in the air forever. At least that's what it felt like. And when it came down, it hit nothing but the bottom of the net. If it wasn't a miracle, it's the closest I've ever seen. Since both schools were located so close to one another, there were plenty of opposing fans at our gym. They rushed the floor and mobbed their team. All I saw was a see of green (their main color) rushing the floor. I was on the court at the time of the shot and simply fell backwards as it went through the net. Fans rushed past me, one of my teammates came over to help me up. It was the worst I've ever felt on a basketball court. As a 17 year old, I thought it was the worst I'd ever feel. Our team struggled to ever recover. We lost the next two games and later lost one of our best players to an ACL tear. We were truly never the same after that heartbreaking loss. I'll never forget it.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I woke up the next morning to find out that the play had made it on to Good Morning America and was also named CNN's 'Play of the Day'. My aunt who lived in Japan called my Mom to say she had seen my high school on CNN. Of course, my Mom had to explain to her that my team wasn't the one who won the game. I tried to stay home from school the next day. I literally didn't want to talk to, or see anybody. Of course, time heals all wounds. Well, mostly. I still haven't forgotten seeing that prayer being answered. And I doubt I ever will.

With all that said, buzzer beaters are still pretty awesome. So enjoy this list of the 27 best buzzer beaters of the college basketball season.

115 comments:

Danimal said...

Dagger and Dagger, Mark. Damn. I think there are more hugs needed today.

T.J. said...

Yikes. Shitty way to lose. On the flip side, if Dennis were still alive, he could regale us all with his tale of the game-winning half-court shot he hit in h.s. I saw the grainy tape.

T.J. said...

Mark...Cocoa high as in the bad Cocoa?

Jerry said...

Last month I had a 3 point-buzzer beater drained in my face in a co-ed game by an Asian guy after we committed a backcourt violation while trying to run out the clock. A real low point, but fortunately it was only to tie the game.

In that league if you jump to block a girl's shot, it counts as goaltending and the week before I'd swatted a 3 pointer by a girl and gave them 3 points. I saw this Asian dude out the corner of my eye, he was short, so I didn't jump to block his shot because I thought he might be a girl.

Fortunately we won in double OT with Slater hitting a game-winning jumper. And then Slater was bummed out because we didn't celebrate enough. So it all worked out in the end.

Danimal said...

rob - thanks for the caa $ article. informative.

Mark said...

Yes, TJ. Bad Cocoa. Which in basketball makes them the good Cocoa.

T.J. said...

Yes.

Mark said...

I played coed intramural basketball at Florida once. It was awful. Guys couldn't even break the plane of the lane and girls received 3 pts for a basket and 4 for a three pointer.

Also, my Men's league team won our league last Thursday. For winning we got tshirts. All of which were XXL. So TJ has a Viera Men's League champions Tshirt now.

Jerry said...

Yes it's pretty terrible. The non-jumping thing is actually better than the lane rule though. Plus everybody plays zone, which I can't stand.

T.J. said...

I AM A CHAMPION

T.J. said...

Just looked at my first bracket all week...the bottom half of the East bracket is a poop show.

rob said...

this is great stuff, mark. someday you'll get karmic reversal - maybe maple will hit a three to win a state championship.

and tribe baseball won, 5-2, against longwood yesterday. three-game winning streak.

zman said...

Teej loves Coco.

Greg said...

A "feces display", Teen?

T.J. said...

Greg, I think you're on the wrong website again. Fecal Teens is a different link.

Shlara said...

Don't forget...tomorrow is National Corn Dog Day:
http://www.corndogday.com/

I'll be celebrating at the DC HQ: The Big Board on H Street NE

From the creators: "For those of you who may be first timers at this grand event, let us describe it as the happiest day of basketball and meats on sticks that you'll ever have."

Clarence said...

In an all day meeting hung over. Convulsed trying not to laugh audibly at Jerry's paragraph about blocking girls' shots and confusing small Asian men for females.

And if continuing to call our doofus overlord "Teen" sticks for even a short while, I'm happy.

rob said...

what if the female is taller than you? in my sunday game, we're frequently joined by a woman who's 6'1" and played at rutgers. she's got sharp elbows and sets a mean pick. if i ever block her shot, i'm celebrating.

T.J. said...

You're doing the lord's work, shlara, reminding us of national corn dog day.
Gratefully yours,
Teen

mayhugh said...

I need a follow up from Jerry on how much celebrating was deemed by Slater to be "not enough". And what additional conduct would have been deemed a sufficient amount of celbration?

T.J. said...

Gatorade bath.

Greg said...

Firm handshake.

T.J. said...

celebratory full court chest passes?

Shlara said...

this holiday has your name all over it, Teen.

Clarence said...

Have you guys ever seen Teen wolf down a grilled cheese? He has lots of styles.

T.J. said...

you were proud of yourself after that one, weren't you, Clarence?

Clarence said...

That one was just for you, buddy.

Greg said...

Ahhhhh....Clarence!!! That won the day. Huzzah

Mark said...

I too am really enjoying the mental picture I've painted of Slater being bummed out by what he deemed insufficient celebration. He should've celebrated by knocking out a fratty UGA student.

mayhugh said...

Valpo is suffering from a serious case of TMWG against Michigan State.

zman said...

I was going to write a post about this but it appears that I'm behind the curve and everyone else in the internet has the same conclusion, which is: if you like Revolver and Rubber Soul (and you're nuts if you don't) then you will like Tame Impala's Lonerism.

rob said...

nobody else here had reached that conclusion. write away.

Mark said...

I hadn't reached that conclusion but I have been digging Lonerism for a few weeks now.

T.J. said...

been quite awhile since Pitt and Jamie Dixon have made any noise in the tourney...the natives are restless

mayhugh said...

Chance for a buzzer beater coming up in Memphis/St. Mary's.

mayhugh said...

no dice. Best look you are going to get with 1.9 seconds left.

Mark said...

I found it a little annoying that Raftery spent the final minute or two of the broadcast heaping non-stop praise on St. Mary's. Instead of, you know, the team who won the game.

mayhugh said...

Agreed. Everyone is pulling for Southern now, right? I don't think a Zags loss will bust too many brackets.

T.J. said...

Go Southern.

zman said...

I just came here to post "Southern!" but you beat me.

mayhugh said...

Gonzaga has some cagey vets. Every time Southern draws within a possession they calmly go down a drain a bucket.

Crap call on Olynek.

mayhugh said...

Apparently, the refs are also rooting for Southern.

mayhugh said...

Pangos. Onions.

rob said...

davidson, man. damn.

Clarence said...

True fact: North Carolina A & T used to be called North Carolina T & A. Interesting.

mayhugh said...

South Dakota St trotted out 5 white guys to start the game. And at least one of them has a mustache.

mayhugh said...

Allie LaForce. Hiya.

T.J. said...

Rootsy, is that your twitter account that just told me not to toss the cassettes?

T.J. said...

Jackrabbits!

mayhugh said...

The 3 steal series that Louisville just had was pretty marvelous.

TR said...

I think I speak for everybody when I say the most amazing part of this story is that Mark has an aunt in Japan.

In unrelated news, I am in a suicide pool. I pick one team each day. My pick today is Michigan, who is currently losing.

I may be saying "sayonara" to my $40 tonight.

TR said...

I would hate for my wiener to be called Tame Impala. I would prefer Noble Jaguar, or Circumspect Lynx.

#trainbeers

TR said...

Wolverines > Jackrabbits

Wolverines!

mayhugh said...

Michigan is really sloppy with the ball.

Mark said...

Tough to imagine any team losing in a more heartbreaking way than Davidson. From up 5 to a point loss in less than 10 seconds.

Also, If you haven't watched Nate Wolters play before, tonight's a good night to start.

mayhugh said...

Really enjoying watching this McGary guy play. He's a hustler.

Mark said...

I gave my wife my tattoo appointment for tonight and stayed home with the baby. I'm fairly certain we can stop the father and husband of the year voting.

T.J. said...

Correction Mayhugh. He is a mother fucking hustler, and you sir better axe somebody.

Shlara said...

This year's tournament coverage is making me feel old...Billy Donovan looks wrinkled in the UPS commerical; Rex Champan is so old & dumpy he's practically unrecoginzable (seriously, three people from the old Bullets front office called me with the "did you see Rex" comment); and Jalen Rose has that middle-aged guy tire around his waist. Time hasn't been kind to these men..

mayhugh said...

What about the guy in the commercials informing you he is undergoing a colonoscopy as he speaks?

mayhugh said...

And I remember watching the Bulls/Jazz finals a seeing John Stockton's toddler son shooting on a toy basket coming back from a commercial break. THAT makes me feel old.

Danimal said...

Putting on my diaper....

rob said...

i feel young as shit. half-drunk from happy hour, and boyishly handsome to boot. bunch of old motherfuckers.

zman said...

For what it's worth, TR, their big single is titled Elephant (prominently featured in the new Blackberry ad).

zman said...

Michigan is my favorite team to root against. Their fans are most irksome.

rob said...

i celebrate tame impala's entire catalog. strongly endorse zman's position.

TR said...

Mark: pls tell me she got this tattoo:

https://www.google.com/search?q=tony+danza+tattoo&hl=en&client=safari&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=kK9LUbHRCabp0gGhg4GIBQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=480&bih=268#biv=i%7C11%3Bd%7CCmcO3-FeFUfxoM%3A

rob said...

of all the mid-seeded games, i was most certain that unlv would skate through cal. there's a word for people like me.

TR said...

Gay?

T.J. said...

Or perhaps that one Pee Wee Herman tat that found its way onto that link.

zman said...

It's the word you called me when I picked Norfolk State, right?

rob said...

might be that one, z

zman said...

I need one of those Akron "Z" warmups.

TR said...

Mike Montgomery needs to be added to the "aging badly" group, and he's not coming off of a studly base.

T.J. said...

PAC-12 #12 seeds pwning folks today.

T.J. said...

The dreaded Teej-inx?

Shlara said...

I like the Zips uniforms.

Mark said...

It's going to be tough to stay up for the Syracuse loss to Montana, but I think I can do it.

T.J. said...

Hate u

Shlara said...

Oh--one more music note from Sound City. Dave asked every artist the name of their first band--lots of hilarious answers.

You know what Frank Black's first band was?
The Pixies.
That's where he started. The Pixies.
One of the best alt-rock bands of all time.

rob said...

people didn't know that frank black was in the pixies?

rob said...

or, amazing that his first band was the pixies? nevermind. i get it. teen, play me offstage.

T.J. said...

/cues sad Hulk walking away song

Squeaky said...

Any one got any tips on places to visit in Detroit? Delta is treating me to a free night stay at the Red Roof Inn and I got a $25 Delta voucher burning a hole in my pocket. They really know how to treat a person they just screwed over.

rob said...

greektown, squeaktown.

also, it appears i may have overvalued the mountain west.

Clarence said...

Odds that Shlara would type "Time hasn't been kind to these men" in this space and that none of he aforementioned men are me?

rob said...

kinda self-evident, no?

TR said...

It's getting late...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETI-YNRmhFY

rootsminer said...

Teej, that was me advocating for your cassettes. Little guys get a bum rap, for some reason.

Clarence said...

Shlara, I believe Frank Black (before he was Frank Black or even Black Francis) posted an ad in the local paper looking for bandmates ands that's how he found Kim Deal and Joey Santiago and the drummer. Random start to a fine career.

Frank Black's "I Burn Today" came up on the iPod shuffle the other day. I played it like three times. I was hung over. It's terrific.

Shlara said...

Clarence, you still look hot.

And you know what would be nice?
If they start these games at 9am ET so they could be done by 10pm ET. Because, even though I don't look as old as those men, I am old, and can't stay awake until 2am.

T.J. said...

Breakfast with Barkley. I'm all for it.

T.J. said...

Ha. Über cheater Frank Haith and his Tigers getting crushed by Colorado St

T.J. said...

And VCU is going to win by 40. Havoc.

zman said...

How did anyone grow up in the 1980s without listening to Surfer Rosa?

Shlara said...

Re; Frank Black
I was trying to say, isn't it amazing that his FIRST BAND EVER is the Pixies.

Most rock stars go through a few shitty "bands" before settling into their groove and their sound. he didn't even have a goofy junior high band, like most dudes.

zman said...

I assume no one took Harvard?

Clarence said...

Shlara, everyone except Rob picked up on your meaning. He went to happy hour.

And you still look hot, too. Promise we'll still tell each other that when we go to our 50th reunion?

zman said...

Even if Akron doubled their score they'd be down by double digits. Woodshedding.

T.J. said...

Welp. VCU might win by 50.

zman said...

Harvard's cheerleaders look like they're good at calculus.

Clarence said...

RE: Harvard cheerleaders and calculus, I hooked up with at least one Tribal dancer. Pulling down spandex pants can be eye-opening. That shit is camouflage.

Shlara said...

Clarence--you have a deal!

zman said...

Davis Square is the fat-girls-in-bellyshirts capital of the world. Tribal Dancers got nothing on Cambridge/Somerville.

zman said...

I think Tommy Ammaker paints his bald spot. HDTV!

T.J. said...

This Harvard/New Mexico game is fun.

T.J. said...

Cuse up 44-15. Not too shabby.

T.J. said...

I have a bad feeling Harvard is going to gag this game away.

T.J. said...

Wow. Harvard wins. That was a fun fucking game. Still hate Tommy Amaker, though.

Clarence said...

Why do you hate Amaker?

Dave said...

hi gheorghies!

(i know it's not very late, but the fact that my liver can still process alcohol after saturday night's tonka truck episode is wonderful)

and mark, fuck all those fuckers that fucked you!

Dave said...

i want to play in drag in jerry's league.

Clarence said...

Hi, Dave!

Clarence said...

See, if someone responds to your hi, Gheorghies, you have a little conversation. Come on, people.

zman said...

BTW, I found mustard on the couch.