March 23, 2006

And that is why...

and that is why we watch sports: games like tonight's. unbelievable game, i can't believe i got to watch it in-person (thanks phil). the first game of the night, memphis-bradley was rather lackluster as the tigers used their superior athleticism and aggressiveness to run bradley into the ground. the arena was about half full. as we neared gametime for ucla-gonzaga, the seats started filling up. you could feel a palpable buzz in the air as tip-off came. to be honest, i've never felt something like that before a sporting event, even in the great stanford-arizona tilts. then the game started. and ucla was in trouble. they couldn't hit a shot. they couldn't defend morrison and batista. they couldn't keep their hands off players, repeatedly fouling. and, perhaps most of all, they couldn't keep arron afflalo on the floor (to score buckets and defend morrison). and yet, at halftime they were *only* down 13. i turned to phil and said, "i can't believe they're not down by 25." from my seat eight rows back from the court, you could tell that ucla came out to play in the second half. it's as if howland told them in the locker room, "we might foul every one of our players out of the game, but we're going to play our asses off." early in the second half, jordan farmar shoved derek raivio in the neck with a forearm, knocking him to the ground. when raivio turned and complained to the referee, i figured ucla had a chance. why? because tough teams know that you need to go out and TAKE games away. any team with a point guard that would spend that much time crying to the referee was expecting to be given something. still, i was stunned at the end of the game. i think stunning is the only word to describe it. at the end of the day, ucla made the plays when they mattered, scoring the last 11 points of the game. the most telling moment came with 2.9 seconds left, as morrison cried on the court, with the game still going on. it was the perfect example of why ucla won the game: they were determined and they WON the game. they didn't cry about bad calls. they didn't pout about missed shots. they didn't wonder about missed opportunities. they just wanted the game more. they were what we should (now) expect from ucla teams: tough.

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At 3/24/2006 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous bon said...

big congrats for being there. i *knew* it couldn't end up being as boring of a game as it looked like it'd be, if you and phil were there in person. i'm glad your heart didn't explode.

good luck in vegas.

At 3/24/2006 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please, I hope you don't watch sports to see 18-22 year old kids choke away their dreams. A lot of Gonzaga's seniors have just seen the highlight of their lives slip away because of nerves and pressure. Please don't tell me you watch sports to see kids our age get heartbroken. Gonzaga clearly gave that game away, you just can't celebrate that. Do people celebrate Buckner's game 6 debacle, not many.

It's one thing to see Kobe go 2-12 in the 4th quarter in a playoff game, and celebrate his poor performance... But these are kids.

-Mike Lee


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