Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy

It almost seems silly to write about Monday night's game, only because there about a jillion articles on the subject sitting here on the Internets as I type. I mean seriously, it was a game for the ages--one of the most amazing championship games in history. Everyone and their dog has written about it. I know that 99% of those articles are more informative and/or insightful than my blog will ever be, but I feel like jotting down my memories regardless, only so that I will always remember and never forget exactly where we were and what we were doing when our Jayhawks won the title!!

Since our friends Heather and Grant had been over to watch the UNC game along with their daughter Quillen, we invited them over on Monday as well to continue the pattern for good luck. Our friends Jake and Amber hadn't been over for the previous game on Saturday, but since they'd watched many of the other tournament games with us, we were glad that they were also able to come over for the big one. With some of our best friends here and lots of yummy snacks and drinks, we were well prepared for the big night! While I was extremely nervous before the game, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I'd been before the Davidson game the weekend before. Since we'd already gotten over the Final Four hump and the North Carolina hurdle, I guess I was feeling a little more relaxed than you might expect.

The first half of the game was enjoyable, as KU played solidly. They didn't completely dominate, but towards the end of the 20 minutes, it felt like they were in control. The 'Hawks definitely weren't perfect, but we played well and Memphis wasn't hitting all of their shots. Halftime came quickly and without too much stress at all.

It was about mid-way through the second half that our small lead started slipping away. We had several turnovers in just a few minutes and the Tigers starting getting most of the rebounds. With just under four minutes left to play, Derrick Rose hit a fall-away-piece-of-garbage jumper as the shot clock expired, and at that point I was just sure we were in big trouble. I'd told myself I wouldn't cry when we lost this year because getting this far was a moral victory, but I'll admit that in that next timeout, with Memphis up seven, I laid face first in the carpet and began to sob quietly. It pained me so much to see our boys come that far and then have it all slip away! I was just devastated for them. Even though I'm generally not a glass half empty kind of person, I didn't think there was any way in the world we could win.

Of course, as the whole world knows now, with just 2:12 left to play, we went down by 9 points. It seems like nothing short of a miracle that we came back so quickly. Sherron's steal of the Memphis inbound pass and subsequent 3 pointer was absolutely HUGE to cut the deficit to only four, and then when Joey Dorsey got his fifth foul to put Mario at the line it definitely took some steam out of the Memphis sails. We just kept fouling the Memphis players, and thankfully, they didn't make all of their free throws. Even though we missed a key layup and key rebound right in the last 60 seconds, it was only the last 2.1 seconds that counted. Mario's amazing, miraculous, astounding, perfect three-pointer with Rose in his face was the hugest basket in KU Basketball history. That kid has ice water in his veins. The second the shot went in, we were all screaming and yelling and jumping around our basement like a bunch of crazy people. Immediately, I knew we would win the game. There was no question that we would pull it out in overtime. The momentum was all ours.

We did a lot more screaming and jumping after the final buzzer, along with some spastic running around the house, calling friends and family while preparing to go downtown. I was so ecstatic and elated I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It wasn't until yesterday that the whole thing started to really sink in. Every time I thought of the team and the seniors and Coach Self and Mario's shot and how proud I was of them all, I would just burst into tears. It was like 20 years of crying every time we lost in the tournament finally turned into tears of joy. I just couldn't contain myself. Even today I find myself fighting back tears every time I think of the amazing season and those amazing kids!!! I just love them all so much! Hooray for my beloved Jayhawks!!

1 comment:

Beth said...

Your blog post summed up exactly what we were feeling here! I certainly felt an impending doom at 2:12 when we were down by 9 and hadn't scored in a ridiculous number of minutes. Then, somehow, some way, KU pulled amazing plays made by amazing players.

It was unreal, and all you can do is describe your emotions because it seems like if you really talk about the things that went right, history itself might change! Better to just focus on the fact that KU WON!!!!!!!