Did you see? So many crazy and wonderful moments happen in sports
The beauty of going to a ballgame is that something totally unexpected can happen. Oh sure, we get the occasional boring event, but sometimes, you see something so incredible that you are talking about it for years.
It’s why we plunk down the big bucks to go and potentially be part of history.
If you’re looking for a clunker, I’ll give you two recent examples: The North Carolina State men’s basketball team was ranked 23rd in the nation. It proceeded to score 24 points in its game against Virginia Tech. Now, had that been in the first three minutes of the game, we would have a much different storyline. Unfortunately, it was for the ENTIRE game. NC State lost, 47-24.
It wasn’t like each team was using up the shot clock on every possession. No, it was one of those nights when the proverbial lid was on the basket. The Wolfpack shot 9 of 54 from the field, including 2 of 28 from 3-point range. Yikes! Do you suppose some patrons asked for their money back following that debacle?
Then there was the Super Bowl. If you were a fan of either team or just a fan of defensive football, then Super Bowl LIII was fine. If you’d rather see explosive offenses march up and down the field, well…
Perhaps one comment I saw sums up what many fans felt about this year’s game. It read: “Imagine paying $3,000 to see a Maroon 5 concert and a field goal!”
That’s pretty funny stuff.
However, a couple of things happened in the days leading up to the Super Bowl that explains the heading for this column. Maybe you’ve heard about them, but if not, let me explain myself. Did you see?
During the first quarter of the San Antonio Spurs game with the Brooklyn Nets, the game was delayed when a handful of bats started flying through the air at the AT&T Center. A few years ago, a bat did something similar and was knocked out of the air by Manu Ginobili, the Spurs guard. As one wag put it, the bats apparently were made aware of Ginobili’s retirement and decided to return.
The game was stopped, and some Spurs players started waving towels at the darting fliers. Another threw a basketball at them, while others ran for the tunnel, wanting nothing to do with the bats.
Eventually, the bats returned to the rafters and play resumed. Within minutes, one lone bat decided to fly close over the hardcourt, and play was stopped again. Even the Spurs mascot joined in the hunt, but not until after he went to the locker room and changed into a Batman costume. I can’t make this up. Near the scorer’s table, the mascot dived and netted the bat, to the sheer delight of the crowd.
Now, one rule in the life of mascots is that he or she does not speak. This would have been the perfect time for an exception to the rule, as he or she could have up and yelled, “I’m Batman.”
For me, the funniest part of the whole encounter was the reaction of the Spurs’ bench after the capture. You would have thought they just won the NBA title!
If you haven’t seen this clip, by all means look it up. In one word, it was hysterical.
Another beautiful moment occurred at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, though on Tuesday during the practice round. Defending champion Gary Woodland was playing with Matt Kuchar when the twosome came to the 16th hole.
The 16th at TPC Scottsdale is famous as the most raucous hole on the tour. Of course, since it was Tuesday, the stands were not full. That’s too bad, because what happened should be seen by everyone.
On the tee, Woodland was introduced to Amy Bockerstette, a local girl with Down’s Syndrome. Amy is no stranger to the game of golf, as she has played the sport in high school. To be introduced to the defending champion of the Phoenix Open was sure to be a thrill for her.
There would be more than just a greeting, though, as Woodland asked her if she would like to play the hole. She quickly accepted the offer. Her father had brought her clubs to the tee and handed her a driver for the 140-yard par 3. With the pros watching, Amy sent her shot toward the green, where it slipped into a greenside bunker. Amy then accompanied Woodland and Kuchar to the green, where Woodland asked her if she wanted to hit out of the bunker. “Of course,” was her quick reply. She entered the trap saying “I got this,” and promptly hit the ball just over the lip, rolling it some eight feet from the flag. Woodland and Kuchar were ecstatic congratulating her on a great shot.
Woodland then walked Amy with Amy up to her ball and helped her line up the putt, suggesting it would break a little to the left. Caught up in her excitement, Woodland encouraged her by saying, “you got this.”
Bockerstette calmly rolled the ball into the hole, and the crowd went crazy. Woodland thrust both arms into the air. It was hard to tell who was most excited.
Afterward, Woodland suggested that he had never rooted for a putt to go in as much as he had at this moment. “I have done a lot of cool things on the golf course, but this was by far the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”
The moment was a thrill of a lifetime for Amy Bockerstette. The same can be said for Woodland, Kuchar and anyone who was present. If you haven’t seen this video, make sure you find it online. Be prepared to smile and perhaps shed a tear or two.
Yes, it’s that awesome.
Al Stephenson is a columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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