**This post is meant to highlight the crazy ending to a well and hard fought game by both sides. This is not a story of good versus evil, but about two teams trying desperately to win the game. I love basketball for games like this, but to avoid any misnomer about my intentions, I have nothing but respect for the team we faced that day, and look forward to our next meeting.**
Here's how it went down. Basketball Tournament Finals. Our team was down by 1. Our opponents had to inbound the ball at about half court. Only 3.2 seconds left on the clock. All the other team had to do was pass the ball in. The odds were stacked against us...unless the unthinkable happens. And what do you know, the unthinkable happened. The man inbounding the ball decides to throw a high arching lob pass toward their own basket. Not only was it high enough for our team to race toward the player receiving the pass, but it also cut the distance needed for us to make a basket, and win the game. I followed the ball the whole way, running along its path without regard to anyone or anything in front of me. We all jumped for it, but didn't make contact. On the other hand, neither did the other team. It was my teammate Travis who intercepted the pass. The clock starts running. He takes a single dribble toward the basket. All of the sudden I watch the ball once again fly into the air as Travis crashes to the floor. The buzzer sounds. After the game was over, talks with Travis revealed that the ball was wet, and he actually lost it while going up for the game winning shot. Luckily for him and us, he was fouled at the exact same time. The game was over, but Travis had earned 2 free throws to potentially win the finals, and the Tournament.
It was just like in the movies. A hush fell over the gym. Single dribbles of the ball echoed emphatically through the air. Watching it happen was Surreal.
Here's what happened next in Travis's own words: "Then the pony tail guy came up to me and said something I couldn’t really hear but I just ignored him. Then I was thinking, well…I only need to make one of these. But.. I guess I’ll be ok if everyone hates me for missing both. That way there was no pressure on me for missing it lol. Then when they passed me the ball, I just did my normal routine and shot it. My pinkie was jammed during the weekend so it adjusted my shot a little bit but when it hit the front rim that made me really nervous until it rolled in. Then all the pressure was off since I made the first one but then a guy from the other team walked in front of me which surprised me because I thought everyone was at their bench.."
It was at this point, when there couldn't possibly anymore drama, that things got even more insane.
As Travis was being harrassed by a member of the other team, Mr. Derrick Tsou took measures into his own hands. He walks toward the guy in an attempt to get him away from Travis. "I didn't even touch him!" He explained afterwards. However given the situation, and with some pretty impressive acting, the guy tumbled like a sack of potatoes as soon as Derrick entered his space. All hell brakes loose. Their bench cleared. Our bench cleared. There was a bit of pushing, lots of barking, both teams trying desperately to convince the referees of the wrongs done to them. After a few moments, the refs decide to call a technical foul on each team. As a result, both get to select a player to shoot 2 more free throws. This has never happened before in my entire basketball career.
In the end, the basketball gods were shinning in our favor. They knocked down their 2 free throws, but so did our boy Richard. We won the tournament and went undefeated in the first time playing together as a team. I couldn't be more proud of this team. Our chemistry was natural, we knew each other's strengths and made up for each other's weaknesses. I have high hopes for this team going forward, with sights set on a Chinese Nationals appearance. And so, I am happy to report at least 1 of the 5 goals I've set for 2016 has been accomplished. I will treasure this experience always. Now, on to the next one.