I’ve said this before right here that I wasn’t much of a sports fan until I had some skin in the game. Kids and grandkids come to mind. I’m now invested with heart and mind and a loud obnoxious grandma voice, especially at the basketball games. We win some we lose some and it’s all in good fun.
But . . .
This past Saturday will be set apart in my mind forever. And it was not our Sam who had me in thrall. No – it was Frankie.
We were twenty points ahead and the coach put him in. Of no impressive height, or girth, or talent and I wouldn’t have known a thing about him if his sister hadn’t plunked herself onto the bleacher behind us. “Go Frankie!” She began. “Throw it to Frankie!” And then she got louder.
The ball flew. Our best players made more baskets. “Give it to Frankie!” A few other people yelled. Who’s Frankie? I wanted to know.
One of the mom’s pointed him out, leaned in and said, “Poor Frankie. He hasn’t had a basket all season.”
I looked harder at the boy now. And then it began. Every player by this time had picked up on Frankie’s plight. They must have known. They must have conspired for their teammate. Because every player on our side who got the ball picked up the vibe from the crowd. “Give it to Frankie!” And they did. And Frankie took the shots and missed – every time. We groaned – every time.
What came next – our own CYO Miracle on Ice moment (take that, Russia!). The other team was pounding the court doing their darndest to keep our good players from getting that basketball. And one more “Give it to Frankie!” rang out, the crowd in full cry and his sister the loudest. Frankie zoomed down the court, positioned himself under the hoop and snagged the ball out of the air. He spied the basket, fended of the arms waving in his face like kelp gone wild and took the shot.
The crowd held its collective breath for the three seconds it took for that ball to hit the rim – circle once – and drop through the hoop.
The collective roar from the people nearly lifted the roof from the gym. And Frankie stood in awe of his moment. His face split in a grin and he was a champion right then. As much as any Olympian or March Madness Marauder, or anyone, anywhere who’s overcome the odds and triumphed. It was short lived. The game went on. He missed more baskets. But Frankie scored – it was his game for a bit. Hurrah!
I want to give a nod and a slap on the back to every one of his teammates who cheered Frankie on and helped him have his moment. They did it with grace, humor and team spirit. Totally awesome.
Image: xedos4 Free Digital Photos