I’m going to try and type this. I’m still flying incredibly high right now.
As a sports fan, I’ve been blessed. Some of my teams, notably the Texas Rangers, have never done particularly well. However, I have had four Super Bowl wins by the Dallas Cowboys, a championship for the Philadelphia 76ers back when I cared about the NBA, and Wichita State baseball in 1989.
In 1986 I graduated from Wichita East and went to KU. I wasn’t really anxious to go to KU at the time, but a big part of that was that I really wasn’t ready for college. I had a great year, though I flunked out :).
I do, however, recall sleeping on concrete for student tickets for the basketball games. I also recall playing pickup basketball in Robinson Gymnasium a lot. On one occasion the game included Cedric Hunter, Ron Vaughn (who played football but was an incredible basketball player), Mark Turgeon, and, oh yeah, a pretty decent player named Danny Manning.
That was a really really good KU Basketball team that year, and Allen Field House is an amazing place to watch a game. I was absolutely hooked. That particular team couldn’t quite win it all and had several seniors.
The 1987-88 season was expected to be a good, but not necessarily great team. And then the magic happened. I recall watching that game upstairs in the house I grew up in. I recall seeing a guy a year ahead of me both at Wichita East and Robinson Jr. High have the game of his life, hitting a clutch 3 pointer when it counted.
And now I’m blessed again.
I went into this game thinking that Memphis would probably win, but it was going to be a tight game. I knew that KU would have some runs, and I knew Memphis would have some runs, and I figured it would be a tight game at the end.
I was right.
KU dominated on the inside. I told a friend of mine today that I hoped KU’s inside game would offset the amazing Memphis backcourt.
I was right here too.
But how it all happened is amazing. KU was down by 9 points late in the game. John Calipari said that everything had to go right in those last few minutes for KU to tie the game up.
Mario Chalmers’ 3 point shot with a hand in his face with 2.1 seconds left to tie the game is quite possibly the single most amazing action by a person on any team I have ever rooted for. Danny played an incredible game, but there’s no one moment of the game in 1988 that was so, so, so, well, hell, I hate the word, but so clutch.
About the only other single play was the third to short to first putout that saved my softball perfect game.
Few of the championships I’ve rooted for have come down to one play.
They’re already suggesting it is the single most important shot in Kansas basketball history. I’m not sure there’s another shot in the discussion.
Once he made that shot, the game was essentially over.
KU was flying high, and once KU scored first in the overtime, it was an avalanche.
So now I’m quivering and weeping and bursting with energy and and and…