Livin’ the Dream as an athlete: yes it’s sad

Glory on the sporting fields deserted me in 1993 after my basketball team, Pizza Hut, won its second consecutive SSYAA senior division championship. I scored an unprecedented 11 points, one less than my age, as my teammates and I romped our way to an easy victory over Shaw’s Hardware.

My athletic career never knew the taste of the ultimate victory again, and I surmise it was because of the way we won that game. We were anything but humble in victory that day.

Our team leader, an 11-year-old hot-shot junior high prospect, scored at will and refused to stop when things got out of hand. He was stealing the ball from the opponents’ helpless point guard and throwing down breakaway reverse layups.

He was running give-and-gos with our post men, and he was nailing would-be three pointers, even though they only counted for two points.

He turned on his swagger that day and the rest of our team, myself included, were really letting the other team know how bad they were. It was unabashed arrogance from our whole team, and we’ve since paid the price.

Our team leader never made it through high school and has been in trouble with the law many times since his Pizza Hut glory days.

As for me, my high school’s football team won the state championship when I was a senior. Of course, I was on the golf team and we sucked. I also played a little baseball, but as soon as I hit varsity I was a curse on the entire team. Two years in a row we were poised to be among the best teams in the state, but we lost in the semifinals each year, both times in fluke fashion.

I can’t help but blame myself and the bad karma that I carried around with me from that one day when we ran up the score on Shaw’s Hardware.

I carried that karmic stain with me until this year, when lo and behold I found myself in the position of Shaw’s Hardware: huge underdogs to a mighty opponent.

It was The Chrony vs. ASUU football game and we were an undersized, undermanned, under talented team on a big field facing big opponents.

Last year’s game was a 54-2 drubbing and to make matters worse, we didn’t have a single player with high school football experience, while ASUU had several, and even one player from the U football team. In other words, we had no business being on that field.

But the ASUU’s Pizza Hut-like swagger evened the odds that day. From their “we can’t possibly lose this game” attitude, to their PA announcer blandly prattling off G rated insults, they were obviously not aware of the stain that had befallen them.

After stopping ASUU’s final attempt at a game-winning two point conversion, I think I can speak for everyone on The Chrony when I say it was, sadly, an amazing feeling, made that much better by the fact that the bad guys lost. We had beaten the heavy favorites, we were the classic Cinderella story. We were living the dream.

At least I was, anyway.

I was embarrassed to admit it at first, but now I can honestly say that was the greatest athletic moment of my life. It defines my pathetic athletic career, while simultaneously highlighting it with a win as glorious to me as the Diamondbacks’ victory over the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series was to them.

It was a feeling of relief as much as it was a feeling of unbridled elation. I know this technically makes me some kind of a loser, but I don’t really care.

Having people invite me out for beers after the game was just as pleasing as accepting an MVP trophy, and scoring a touchdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium in front of three people was just as exciting to me as Steve Savoy or Paris Warren scoring one there in front of 40,000.

I don’t have the athletic ability or the dedication to bring my game to a bigger stage, but I’m perfectly happy to accept my fate as a playground performer.

That’s especially true knowing that we beat those cocky bastards twice in one year. In your face, ASUU!!!! Chrony rules!!!! I’ll see you suckers next year all bearded up and ready to kick some ass!!!!

(Just testing my theory.)

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