I’m sure by now that you regular readers are getting a little tired of my stories of extraordinary things that have happened to me. Well, here’s another one, so get ready.
Since our kids graduated from Michigan State University and our son tried out as a walk-on in basketball, we have a special interest in what the MSU basketball team is doing at the Big Dance better known as the NCAA Basketball Tourney. I surely hope that some of you saw the game last Sunday (March 21) between MSU and Maryland. If you didn’t, let me tell you, you missed one whale of a game! It was pretty close for most of the game but MSU pulled ahead by double digits and it looked like it was all over. Then, like many times this year, the lead started disappearing and it looked like they actually could lose this game. In fact, Maryland hit a shot with about four seconds left. Normally, when that happens, the game really is over. I thought it was, for sure!
Like a game made for a movie, MSU brought the ball down the 94-foot floor quickly, passed it a couple times, and got it to the team’s point guard off of the bench. He calmly and deliberately grabbed the ball and took the shot outside the three-point line. With the ball in the air, time ran out, as everyone could see be the light that came on around the backboard. The ball swished through the net, as beautifully as any shot I ever saw! Oh, what an ending. We, the Michigan State Spartans, had won the game!
The MSU players jumped into a big pile in the middle of the floor crying tears of joy. My wife and I got a little emotional (mostly my wife, of course), but not to tears.
This fantastic game reminded me immediately of one that I played in when I was a junior in high on our varsity basketball team. We had a terrific team that year (1952-53) on which I was one of the guards. What happened at the end of that game was even more impossible (of course, wouldn’t I think so!) than MSU game. We were five points behind with 10 seconds to go and without the advantage of today’s three-point shot, which seems to give teams more of a chance to catch up if they get behind in a game. They threw it in behind our basket and we intercepted it and immediately shot and make a bucket, reducing our chance to tie the game by three points. Then, they throw the ball in again from the same spot and we intercept it the second time, shoot it and make another two-point bucket and they foul our shooter. He calmly goes to the free throw line and sinks the free throw and we were tied! We then played in overtime and end up winning the game and the tournament championship game.
See why I love basketball so much? Being from a town of 500 in northwestern Illinois where every boy comes out of the womb with a basketball in his hands, basketball is just in my blood and in the blood of all my relatives who, unlike me, have received many basketball honors including the development of the first jump shot in basketball according to the Chicago Tribune, two all-staters, two in the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame, one winner of an Illinois three-point shooting contest. I only wish that I was half as good as my cousins were in their hay days. I had a great time on some great teams though, as a guard, and had experiences that I will never forget and that have helped me in life — like never ever giving up because it ain’t over till it’s over!
Even though we are from north of Cordele, please forget that for this tourney and support the Michigan State Spartans. They have a wonderful coach in Tom Izzo, a bunch of good players, and a university that follows the rules and runs a clean program unlike a lot of schools today. Now that I said that, I supposed that the headlines in the papers tomorrow will be about that not being the case. I hope not!
Go Michigan State Spartans!
Written by Ted Anderson. Insurance agent Ted W. Anderson worked in sales for half a century, has lived in Albany since 1993. He is president of Dover Lane Neighborhood Watch. Send email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.