Tuesday, April 8, 2008


With 2:12 to go in the game, I was well on my way to the depths of despair. I was seriously wondering how I could kindly kick my friends out of my house so I could cry in peace. I wondered if I could just go hide in my bedroom while they all left. Then Sherron stole the inbounds pass and hit the 3. Then Mario hit his free throw but CDR missed the front end of his one-and-one. Darrell got the board and scored at the other end. All of a sudden, the 9 point deficit is down to 2 with a minute to go. Hey, this game's not over! But then the last minute goes back to near despair as we miss multiple chances to tie the game or take the lead. A Memphis missed jumper and we get the rebound, but we can't convert at the other end. Have to foul. And he misses both his free throws! But they get the rebound! So we foul again, down 2 with only 10 seconds to go. If he makes them both, we're toast. And we didn't send one of their iffy free throw shooters to the line. No, we had to foul their phenom freshman. And at precisely 10:30, he goes up for his first free throw and "Your program has stopped recording!" WHAT?!? Damn DVR! It paused just long enough to cause some agony in the room. After a very long second, we realized he missed it. Hit the second one, though. 10 seconds to go, down by 3. Sherron takes the ball down the court. Time ticks off the clock way too fast. Sherron seems to slip or bobble the ball as he dribbles into a mess of defenders and somehow gets the ball to Mario. Mario has a defender too close, but he has to take the shot. Pandemonium breaks out! He hit it! Super Mario hit the clutchest of clutch shots! I ran out of the room because I secretly feared the refs would take a second look and decide Mario's toe was on the line (even though it wasn't) and we would lose. I'm not sure I really believed they were going to let us go to OT until the ball tipped. But then, once overtime started, I knew without a doubt that we would prevail. No way Memphis could recover from that.

We jumped and screamed around my house, scaring my dog a bit. We all did a shot. We furiously sent text messages, checked e-mail, and looked for the first headlines online. We watched while CBS showed our guys being interviewed, wearing their brand new National Champion t-shirts and hats, watched them cut down some nets, watched "One Shining Moment." It was a lovely evening.

In hindsight, I can enjoy that game. The first half was just fine. The last part of the second half was not fun while it was happening live. But now I can rewatch it on DVR and love every second of it.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!


Jay said...

And with it, you have my deepest apologies. I was...in every respect possible...wrong. That was the grittiest display I've seen in a while. Great game.


S said...

I appreciate that. And, boy howdy, am I glad you were wrong! I do think that the mental toughness thing is a holdover from the Roy era. Bill's boys are a far cry from that, as now everyone knows. (On a side note, I totally called how that UNC game would go, to the point of saying we would be ahead by about 17 10 minutes into that first half. That's just how Roy's teams go.)

I don't know what John Calipari was thinking at the end there. I really don't believe him that his guys knew they were supposed to foul. In their defense, though, Sherron had been out of control a few times, and I think he slipped there, too. The shot we did get off wasn't exactly an easy one. But those of us who have been following Mario closely pretty much knew he would hit that shot. That boy is just clutch.

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