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Awesome Basketball March 29, 2008

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Special Olympics.
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Today, I watched an incredible basketball game. Several players performed well beyond the coach’s expectations, demonstrated unselfishness and teamwork, and came back from a significant deficit to tie the game in the last minute. It was, by far, the most exciting game I’ve seen all year.

tipoff

Did I see this in the NBA? I don’t think so. The Men’s NCAA Tournament? No. The Women’s Tournament? Nope. I spent the afternoon watching a Special Olympics basketball game.

Intense Competition
The first thing I noticed as the game began was the incredible intensity that all the players showed. Every shot was contested, every possession was challenged, and every bit of energy available was spent.

Gutsy Performances
The team I was rooting for went down early in the first quarter, but by the middle of the fourth had battled back to just two points down. Nearing the last minute of play, they tied the game!

The coach made substitutions that allowed every player to come in at a time and situation when their skills could be most effective. However, none of them complained about coming out at a given time, and when on the bench, the players became the most vocal cheerleaders.

Pure Joy
However, the most startling moments surrounded a young man named Matt. Matt had not scored much early in the day, but in the championship game, he battled and battled and was responsible for key baskets late in the game.

What made this startling was his pure joy in the moment of success. After a made basket, you could have shut off the lights in the gym and still been able to play from the glow of his smile. Matt blocked shots, recovered offensive and defensive rebounds, and hit clutch free throws. He was excited, proud, and exhibited everything that comes to mind when you hear the word “joy.”

My Favorite Game of the Year
Being a University of Louisville graduate and fan, I was excited and proud of the way the Cardinals (men and women) played in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Even so, I know that my favorite game this year wasn’t a UofL victory over Georgetown or Kentucky.

My favorite game was played in a church gymnasium, with not enough bleachers, and players that will never be considered for a big-time college team. My team lost (on a spectacular, last-second shot by the opposing team), but instead of despair, watching these players compete filled me with the same joy that they demonstrated on the basketball floor. I hope everyone has a chance to see such a magical game.

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Comments»

1. Bonnie - March 31, 2008

Tim,

Thank you for coming to my son’s game, and for capturing the essence so beautifully.

The team’s intensity and performance, and even their joy reflects the investment of time and effort by their coaches. I am especially impressed with how well they facilitated the integration of new players this year. It took some time to make adjustments, but the team welcomed the new members enthusiastically.

A remarkable aspect of Special Olympics events is the spirit in which the games are played . Officials do a tremendous and someitimes challenging job respecting individual players’ disabilities. Corporate and private donations pay for uniforms and equipment. Volunteers – many with no personal connection to the Special Olympics – provide essential services. Fans cheer for both teams. Frankly, I think Special Olympics games are as pure as basketball gets.

Thanks again for coming Tim, and for your post.


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