Only a Game

I was home on that fateful night in April, 1989.

My teenage daughter had given up on trying to stay awake to watch the championship game, broadcast “Live” from Seattle; so armed with my Pirate gear, a huge bowl of popcorn and a bottle of wine, I perched alone, in front of the tv, waiting for the big game!

We had decided (sadly) that we could only send the distaff half of the family cross-country to the once-in-a-lifetime game. The Pirates of Seton Hall had clawed their way through the regionals into the finals, and tonight they were matched against a rallying Michigan team in the NCAA Championship Game.

To say that this was an exciting game (even for those of us back home), would be an understatement; a game that would culminate in a nail-biting, blink-of-an-eye overtime, the first ‘Final’ in 26 years to reach overtime.

With a one point lead, and only three seconds left on the OT clock, SHU’s Gerald Greene was called on a “questionable [I have another word for it] hand-check foul” against Michigan’s Rumeal Robinson. The Superdome erupted with cheers, matched only by cries of outrage.

Flushed with anger and frustration, I screamed helplessly at the official, through my TV screen, knowing that somewhere, amid the throng in Seattle, my husband and son were echoing my outrage:

That wasn’t a foul! No! Boo! Boo! Boooooooooo!”

Unbelievably, outrageously, Robinson, a 64% shooter from the line, knocked down both shots, handing the Wolverines a one-point victory!

I was suddenly and dramatically silenced. I stood and stared, aghast, as a shiver ran up my spine. I saw the agony of defeat on the faces of our Cinderella team. I was speechless – as if in a trance, until I realized that the phone was ringing. Mom was calling to ‘chat’.

“No, Mom…I’m not OK…Seton Hall just lost the NCAA Championship!”

She paused, and in true ‘Mom’ fashion, quipped:

“Don’t be upset, Honey…it’s only a game”.







13 Comments on “Only a Game

  1. Just a game?!? Is she crazy? 🙂 I was really interested in the genders of your characters (your family?) in this story. I loved that it was a woman doing the cheering and a woman saying it was ‘just a game’. Good job not pigeonholing us! Thanks for linking up.


    • It took all my will power that night to not take it out on my mother…I might have (respectfully) asked her if she was crazy. And I would have wanted to be there in person. Ah, memories!


  2. Haha. Ouch!
    Not really hearing you because the RED SOX JUST WON THE WORLD SERIES. AGAIN!
    Sorry. You get it though, right?


  3. As an avid Spurs fan who is still upset about Miami’s win, I completely understand this, even if I’m not into college sports. You did a great job with building up the tension of the game and keeping us with you until the very end!


  4. LOL! I was reading that all excited with you even in that short post! I have to admit though I had a conversation with a guy friend of mine that went something like this: He was agonizing over the outcome of a Kentucky Wildcats game and I told him that I could not see basing my whole weeks happiness on the outcome of a game that I am not even personally involved in. There is no way he can at all affect the outcome of this game he was so distraught over. I reminded him that the Kentucky Wildcats didn’t care about whether he won his games or not. Not one person on that team would lose sleep if he lost Monopoly to his six year old daughter. They had never even sent him a Christmas card. They don’t know who he is and would not as a group or individually mind if he lost backyard football by one point.
    He didn’t see any rational behind my argument and pointed out that I am clearly an unfeeling and heartless friend. I promised I would try to devote some time each week to worrying about any team he picked. I don’t think that helped, LOL!


    • Thank you for what I know us the logical perspective. I’m an engineer and love the black and white, factual approach. Yet, I’m still feeling the angst of that night…probably more for the disappointment of my loved ones. I’m sure you are a great friend, considering you had the patience to even have the conversation with your friend. Thank you, Lovely.


  5. good one, i also remeber that fateful night, as i mourned the loss, mostly for you and bobby, and so on point was mommy , so matter a fact, yet supporting, only she could say it’s only a game. love it


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