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Most shocking sports moment you've covered?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by schiezainc, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    So, I'm sitting here writing up some stuff from a baseball championship series I went to today and it occurred to me that what happened today is, by far, the most shocking collapse I've ever seen in the four years I've been covering preps. (I know it's not a long time but bear with me here, people). :)

    Here's what happened. Best of three playoff series. Last night, Local Team blew a 5-0 lead after four innings, blew a one-run lead in the top of the seventh and final inning and, somehow, still won 6-5 in the eighth inning after the NonLocal Team's third baseman committed a bonehead move while trying to get a double play. (He tagged third base and tried to turn a ground ball into a 1-5-3 double play but there was no force on the lead runner. Two batters later, Local Team drove in the winning run).

    That set the stage for today. Game 2. Local team needs to win to end a two-year streak of losing in the finals. If they lose, they have to play Game 3 immediately following because of scheduling issues.

    Here's where things get good. Local team builds a 9-0 lead after three innings. We're all figuring we're going home. Nope. Local team proceeds to blow said lead and it's 9-7 heading into the final inning. Even with that, they get the first two outs. They even get down to the last strike. Pitcher induces a ground ball, Local team starts coming out of the dugout but the runner beats the throw.

    You can guess what happens next. Nonlocal team scores three two-out runs, wins the game, forces a third game.

    Local team is devastated. Fast forward to Game 3. Local team builds a 3-0 lead and then gets slapped around. They lose 10-6 and are just devastated.

    Coach told me before the playoffs began that he was worried his team was cursed, he was worried they were the "new Buffalo Bills". After the loss, he mans up to what he said and I'm left wondering if what I saw was actually real.

    How do you blow a 9-0 lead? Seriously? My goodness.

    So, how about you guys. Any good collapse stories? How about something inspirational? What's left you scratching your head unable to believe what you just saw?
  2. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    My hometown lacrosse team, two-time defending national Senior B champions (and Senior B is the second tier of lacrosse in this country, so these guys are pretty good), recently staged its home opener against a club it swept easily in last year's Ontario final.

    Big ceremony before the game, including the raising of the latest championship banner, and then we're underway. Hometown team jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first 12 minutes. Things were looking really good. It was 10-3 after the first period. Still looking pretty good.

    It was 10-8 after the second period. Oh-oh. But, hey, our boys still have the lead.

    Final score, 13-11. For the other team. Shiiiiiiiiit.

    My brother, the hometown team's president and general manager, looked like he wanted to throw up.

    On the bright side, it's their only loss of the season to this point. They've won four straight games since then and are in first place.
  3. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Covering the 2005 Allan Cup -- Canada's men's senior AAA hockey national championship -- the one Theo Fleury played in, and watching Fleury come unglued in press conferences to the point where he said he wanted to give back the medal he won in the 2002 winter olympics.
    The stacked team Fluery played for from Horse Lake then got upset in the semifinals by the Thunder bay Bombers who then went on to beat the Montmagny Sentinelles out of Quebec in the final to win the cup.
    Prior to the tournament the Thunder Bay team played all of about six games the entire season -- including qualifying -- due to a lack of competition in the area.

    Almost as shocking, the most composed, disciplined and classy player on the Horse Lake team at the tournament was Gino Odgik who compiled 2567 penalty minutes in 605 NHL games.
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Kentucky-LSU football. Bluegrass Miracle.
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    USA-Australia softball, 1996 Olympics. The perfect game/no-no/victory that went poof in an instant.
  6. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member


    I also covered the game three weeks later against Florida where he broke his leg, but I'm not posting a picture of that ...
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Covered a girls high school state basketball playoff game that saw local team take a 17-point lead after the first quarter. Game looks like it's over right then and there. Then they proceeded to blow it, and the other team led by 14 points near the end of the third quarter. Then local team stormed back and hit two free throws with a couple seconds left to tie it and send it to overtime.

    In first overtime, local team gets ahead again by six or so. Other team rallies, and hits shot with about five seconds to go to tie it again, and local team misses buzzer beater. On to the second overtime. Roles reverse. Other team goes ahead, local team's star hits buzzer-beater to send it to third overtime.

    Third overtime, teams battle, local team's star, who went on to have a very nice D-I career at a mid-major, takes over and local team wins by about five.

    End of game, entire gym gives both teams a standing ovation. The local team's big rival was sitting in the gym, waiting for their playoff game to begin (different classes). Even though they're big rivals, they end up on the court high-fiving and hugging the local team.

    I ended up writing about a 35-inch gamer (this is back in the 90s) on it, that got universal praise from my bosses, my colleagues, and the town (of course, I'm sure it was because local team won).
  8. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    Covered a national semifinal at a juco basketball tournament. One team was up 16 with less than 4 minutes left. The other team, which had scored 47 points up to that point, ended the game on a 22-1 run. They fouled once during the last four minutes.
  9. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    A few years back the private school association in our state had an overall tournament for the top two teams in each class. Our local school, which had won the Class A championship, was matched up in the first round against the AAA runner-ups.
    The local team was winning 7-0 after six innings. They had a great pitcher who signed with Mississippi State and was shoving it up the ass of the AAA school. The pitcher had had some arm trouble, though, and was making his first start of the season. He had thrown just over 100 pitches and the coach pulled him.
    In came a senior, the team's No. 3 or 4 pitcher, who hadn't thrown in a month. He proceeds to get lit up. Gives up nine runs in less than an inning and makes two errors that lead directly to a couple of runs. Local team ends up losing 9-7, with the same senior making an out with a runner on in the bottom of the seventh.
    Afterward, most of the local team seems OK with the loss. They had their state title, didn't expect to win the overall tournament anyway, and were cutting up with each other as they packed their gear.
    Everyone except the senior pitcher.
    He's sitting alone in the dugout, head in his hands and staring off into space. The last game he ever played was a meltdown of epic proportions, and he knew it. Only one or two of his teammates seemed to notice him and came over to console him.
    Just the contrast in attitudes between the guy who blew it, and his teammates who didn't care one way or another, was something I'll never forget.
  10. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    The funniest thing I've ever seen involves Dr. J. He drove me to a field hockey championship because I was having trouble with my night vision. Five minutes before game time, the refs decided that the scorers table was five feet to close to the field. As we were backing up, Dr. J wasn't paying attention, fell right into a garbage can and got stuck. I have never seen anything like it. I was laughing too hard to help him, our photog was snapping pictures, so the refs helped him out. He's never forgiven me. The pic is still in our office.

    The first game I every covered as a prep writer was our only good football team (I didn't know that at the time, our school was the only one in the county that didn't have football), and the first game with their new coach. I ended up learning how to write with that team and even though I was new I was sure that they would win the state title next year. They made it to the first round of states and the star back got a case of the jitters and had a few big fumbles. They had a chance to tie it on the last play of the game, and the reciever looked like he caught a touchdown pass. Everyone cheered -- and the then it was waved off. Ball hit the ground. In my 10-year career it's been the only time I've actually been so mad after a game I pounded the wheel and almost cried for those kids. Heartbreaking. P.S. The winning team cruised to the state title.
    Three years later, they won the state title by stopping a very tough downstate team on a fourth-and-inches. They were only able to do it because their star lineman tore his ACL on third down and that gave the team enough time to rest to do it.

    In an awful twist to this story, they had a dinner a few months later to get there rings. Just as I was leaving, word was coming in that one of their classmates had been the victim of a fatal stabbing. This was a farm school -- I think you could count the number of violent deaths on one hand in the 200-year history of the town. It was awful.

    The most amazing story is probably the No. 2 experience of my life, after my wedding day (sad, huh). Our hometown football team used to be rock solid in the 40's, 50's and 60's -- before the modern playoff system was put into place. Since then, they had never won a playoff game.
    In 2006, they were left out of the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker. The Monday before cross-overs (the hey, you can play one more game for being good sports games) began, a city school narked on its rival that they had an inelligible player. Aparently they kept this in their pocket all season -- just waiting to use it. Hometown team got into the playoffs, scheduled against the narks. They're down 21 points with eight minutes left in the fourth -- and scored 28 to win it. They also squeak past the semi-final team.
    They get to the sectional finals against the favorite and and old school rival going back 100 years and beat them by over 30 points.
    They get to the state championship game, and the town is going nuts. It's like Texas. The school is printing t-shirts, sending full buses -- when they get to the Carrier Dome the hometown fans basically set the attendence record for the entire state championships. It's team color from one end to another (Dome security had to open up extra seating). The favored downstate team had maybe 700 fans -- hometown had 12,000.
    Kickoff -- downstate team runs it back for a touchdown. Everyone is quiet, but hometown team comes back and scores and eventually leads 21-14 late in the fourth. All they have to do is run off the clock, but the 2,000-yard rusher fumbles the ball and downstate team scores. Overtime.
    Downstate team scores first but misses the extra point. Hometown team throws a fade for a touchdown -- but misses the extra point.
    But wait, there's a flag for roughing the kicker. Even the people in the pressbox are shitting themselves at this point not believing it. Hometown kicker comes back, on a gimp leg and kicks the winning point to win the team a state title.

    I've never been one to cheer in the pressbox. But since the Carrier Dome was basically a home game for this team, all the local media new this story. There were a few quick hugs from competing media, hidden small high fives and lots of smiles. Honestly, it was a once in a lifetime Disney-like story. And really -- we all knew unless we really fucked it up we were all winning awards. It still gives me chills.

    Small footnote to that story: That was the year that every championship that I watched started with the eventually losing team returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. High school, NCAA and NFL.
  11. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Not exactly what this thread is about, but I immediately thought of this one.

    A few years back, I go to cover a regular-season high school boys basketball game. This is two section rivals in neighboring districts and they were among the top teams in their classification.

    I get their early to grab rosters and stake out a seat. After a while, I realize that they are late getting warm-ups going. I find the home team's AD and it turns out two of the players are missing. Then I hear some people talking and find out they were in a car accident on the way to the game. Takes a few more minutes for me to get the news that both kids died in the accident.

    I had never experienced anything like it. They announced that the game was being postponed before people found out what had happened, so everybody was milling around on the floor. You could see pockets of people gathering together as somebody got a bit of news by cell phone or word of mouth. I kept thinking of tossing pebbles in a lake, with waves of reaction -- shocked faces and tears.

    Worst part was the story I heard when I got back to the office. The mother of the kids who died was at his older brother's college game that night. She was hysterical when they told her. They actually had to carry her from the arena. I don't even want to imagine it.
  12. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Kenyon Martin breaks his leg in the C-USA tournament, and Cincinnati's national title hopes go straight into the shitcan.
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