I love speaking in absolutes.
It is literally my single favorite thing in the world.
People naturally like to “like” things. Facebook recognized this fact and turned it into an empire. But while I like liking things, I love loving things. If something is amazing I naturally want to share it and in order to get people to pay attention to it, I will often make my status update read “This is the only thing that ever mattered.” or “That was the greatest shot I have ever seen.”
These words are definitely an exaggeration almost every time. Almost. But what happened last night was honestly one of the most amazing endings to a sporting event that I have ever seen.
When friends of mine who aren’t into sports ask me why I believe sports matter, I respond that they provide an everyday stage on which miracles can happen. This is an oversimplification, but it’s as concisely as I’ve been able to capture my reasoning. The longer answer is that sports to me represent hope. As long as there is time on the clock, no matter what the score is, no matter how unlikely something is to happen, there is a chance that that something can happen.
It can occur at any level of sport. Peyton Manning and his broken neck can carry the Broncos from down 24 at halftime in Week 6 to beat the Chargers and tie them atop the AFC West. A second grader can kick a kickball onto the school’s roof just before the recess whistle sounds. Megan Rapinoe can send a cross to Abby Wombach and she can put in a header in the 122nd minute and “SAVE THE USA’S LIFE IN THIS WORLD CUP” as Ian Darke would put it. And New Rochelle can hit a half court shot with 0.1 second left to win a High School State Championship.
If this happened in a movie or a TV show, I would think it was cheap and unrealistic. This is my main problem with the few episodes of Friday Night Lights that I have watched.
Did it have to be exactly 0.1 second left? Did they have to show both teams celebrating, thinking they had won? Why didn’t the kid from Mount Vernon throw the ball higher to end the game? Did the announcer have to say “and Mount Vernon is going to hold on and win” just as the shot got off? THEY WERE DOWN TEN POINTS WITH THREE MINUTES LEFT AND MORE IMPORTANTLY DOWN TWO WHEN THEIR IN BOUND PASS WAS STOLEN WITH TWO POINT NINE SECONDS LEFT.
I don’t believe movies like that.
But this was real life.
There was exactly 0.1 second left. Both teams celebrated thinking they had won. The kid from Mount Vernon didn’t throw the ball higher to end the game. The announcer said, in the moment as any rational announcer might have said, “and Mount Vernon is going to hold on and win” just as the shot got off.
And it went in.
There is magic in high school sports. It’s present in all sports, but it’s different in high school because you know and interact with the people that play on the field. You cheer for them on game night, but you eat lunch with them on game day. And while I obviously have no affiliation with New Rochelle and would not have had a vested interest in this game had Amazing not happened, I can guarantee that there were people at that game that were praying for a miracle.
And this time they got one.
So congratulations New Rochelle. You are now on my Mount Rushmore of Teams that Snatched Victory from the Jaws of Defeat, along with Boise State’s Fiesta Bowl, USA Women’s Soccer, and Miracle.
And along with those congratulations, thank you for reminding me why sports matter. It’s cliche, but someone once told me that “Cliches are truisms and truisms are true.”
It ain’t over til the Fat Lady sings.