Let’s go back two weeks to Tuesday, June 18th: it’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals, and it looks like the San Antonio Spurs are closing in on yet another championship. Now I’m all about watching championship games and seeing the victors crowned, but about halfway through the fourth quarter I’ve made a decision to call it a night: after all, the Heat have gotten on a significant run to take the lead, which makes a Game 7 look like a definite. What transpires while I’m sound asleep is what many consider to be one of the greatest Final finishes in NBA history: the Spurs rocket ahead to a five-point lead with less than a minute to go, Heat “fans” leave the arena disgruntled that their team lost, Miami closes the gap and stays alive thanks to a missed foul shot by San Antonio, and Ray Allen hits an absolutely spectacular three pointer to send the game into overtime. The Heat would go on to win the game by 3 in overtime on their way to their second straight NBA championship, leaving me both aggravated that I missed such a great game and irritated that Miami went home with the trophy once again.
Although I can’t help but wonder how I let myself miss the end of Game 6, upon further evaluation it is obvious that I do this sort of thing all the time. Think I’m joking? Then consider this:
1) St. Louis Cardinals vs Texas Rangers, Game Six of the 2011 World Series: Baseball is one of my favorite sports to watch, but close to seven innings in to this game I decide I’ve had enough; I’ll just watch SportsCenter the next day and see the Texas Rangers celebrating their first ever World Series championship. I wake up early the next morning and see a text from one of my best friends, who was basically pleading that I had saw the end of the game. Whoops. Down to literally their last strike, Cardinals third baseman David Freese took a 1-2 pitch and drilled it all the way to the outfield wall for a 2-run triple, tying the game at 7-7. The game would go into four extra innings of play and eventually saw St. Louis win 10-9 on their way to their second World Series title under legendary manager Tony La Russa.
2) Butler Bulldogs vs Duke Blue Devils, 2010 NCAA Men’s Championship Game: I sort of have an excuse for missing this game, nevertheless I was asleep when it ended. The Butler Bulldogs were the Cinderella of the 2010 edition of March Madness, but in order for the team to finish off this run with a championship they must defeat the Blue Devils and Coach K. While the game was back and forth throughout, I was in the basement at my aunt’s house as we all tried to dodge a very bad storm that had hit the area. With mattresses pulled out and rooms filled with family, I decided that focusing my attention on the television was probably not warranted and that I should instead let the TV sit on the Weather Channel. With hindsight being 20/20, that was a HUGE mistake, as the weather just left a few branches in the backyard; meanwhile the Blue Devils edged out Butler 61-59, all the while getting an incredible scare thanks to a last-second half-court shot by Gordon Hayward that bounced off the rim.
3) New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts, 2009: Peyton Manning has always been my favorite non-Atlanta Falcons player, so naturally my disdain for Tom Brady is understandable. Four years ago, their meeting was getting extremely ugly, as the Pats had jumped out to a 17-point lead just two plays into the start of the fourth quarter. Disgusted with what I assumed would happen for the umpteenth time (Brady beats Manning), I turn the TV off and go to sleep, which meant I would miss the Colts outscoring the Patriots 21-10 in the final quarter of play and ultimately defeat New England 35-34 thanks to a very controversial decision by Pats head coach Bill Belichick to go for it on fourth down on the New England 28 yard line.
The moral of the story is this: if you really want to see an unbelievable finish to a game, just pass me a blanket, a pillow, and maybe a dose of Benadryl, and you may very well get what you want.