I love the bizarre in sports. The bloopers. The trick plays. The plain darn lucky. Sure, I respect talent. I enjoy watching talented athletes. But, I love watching the lucky and bizarre.
And I’ve seen few things more bizarre than what happened in a Division III football match-up between Trinity and Millsaps Saturday.
Millsaps, up 24-22, had run the clock down to 2 seconds before turning the ball over to Trinity at their 40. Trinity’s final play began simply enough, with their quarterback dumping a short pass over the middle to a wide receiver. But what happened between then and a Trinity player’s final 44 yard winning touchdown run, was total chaos.
Trinity had 15 laterals in the final play. Seven Trinity players touched the ball. On the final lateral, the football bounced perfectly into a player’s arms before he ran it in for the touchdown.
It was 46 seconds of “keep away” and “500.” And Trinity was the playground champ.
Trinity’s play of pandemonium was the bedlam my high school teammates and I dreamed of creating. We spent hours practicing trick plays – sneaky handoffs, shooting a basketball through the bottom of the hoop (if it goes above the rim and comes back down through, it counts), squeeze bunts and, invariably, a play that required one player to vault off another’s back. My shining moment: Making the elusive basket-through-the-bottom-of-the-hoop shot in a game. And then sitting on the bench for the rest of the quarter because of it.
See, my coach knew what I refused to acknowledge: The trick plays are only fun for the team making them and those watching them. I was reminded of that as I watched Trinity celebrate, as Millsaps players lay strewn across the field. And thankful that I was in one of the two positions able to enjoy such a ridiculous play.
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