- The Panther’s Home Court
I know I am weird, but today…I am inspired…by a team that could have won…but lost instead.
If you know me at all, then you know my love for sports and my gym rat/football-field rat/ baseball-field rat status that I tend to keep. Where there is a battle to be won, I will gladly be there to witness.
And so it is every home game this season as I work the score board at my alma mater. And although this year has already had me distracted because of the W’s they’ve produced….it’s the L today that actually made me fall in love. I mean anyone can win and look good doing it…but to look honorable in defeat..not to be mistaken with loveable losers…smh, that’s a whole different story.
No, these guys put everything on the line and came up short yet lost none of the respect due them…that’s a hard feat.
GSU right now has a new coach in Ron Hunter and a team full of Sr’s (6 I think) who for lack of a better term are used to losing…well while at GSU at least. This set of Seniors were projected, I believe, to finish last in the conference and had never won on VCU’s home court. They are now fighting for the 4th seed in their Conference Tournament with 3 or so games left to play(who keeps up with exact numbers anyway…) and they beat VCU by I or 2 points I believe….it was a close game. Now to be fair VCU came down here and then beat us by 1….but that’s besides the point.
The point is, is that Ron Hunter took a bunch of guys who knew they were good losers, and turned them into a team that believed that they could be remarkable winners. That takes a lot of guts. It’s not easy believing that you actually have and had all that it took to win all along.
Again that takes major guts. These guys actually believe in themselves, they actually believe in each other…they actually believe in their coach…and that I haven’t seen since dear Lefty retired.
Moreover is the fact that this coach didn’t wait to turn this team around like some other coaches are wont to do. He didn’t wait for the last set of “losers” to graduate from this team for him to begin shaping them into winners…he believed in them just the way they were…and I can’t be happier.
Now as for today’s loss Let’s see. You had missed free throws, missed box-outs, guys who committed 3 or so fouls in a row…and mis-reads that turned into TO’s down the stretch. But instead of hanging up the towels after taking a 7-0 lead and turning that into a 12 point deficit at the half…(I did pay attention to that); or hanging their heads after cutting the lead in OT to 1 only to see it blossom to 4 again with 9 seconds left on the clock, these guys hunkered down and left it all on the floor. They continued playing, they didn’t give up. They didn’t look for the refs to bail them out. They didn’t claim that the other team was cheating, nor did they attempt to cheat….I don’t think.
They played hard…and then they played harder…and when they lost, they shook their opponents hands and thanked their hardworking Hunterville Fans in the student section and walked off the court.
Were their bad decisions made…YES, bad shots…YES; but what they gave their fans on Alumni weekend was the game of their lives even though they weren’t playing at their best. Because there were flashes of brilliance that only Ray Charles would dispute. They played hard, they played together and they played smart…their shots just weren’t falling like they do in pre-game warm ups. They made me proud to be a Panther again.
So thank you Ali, Boomer/Tebow, Buckner, Kimbro, Micheaux, McGee, Richardson, White, Vincent, and the rest of the bench. It’s been a blast and an honor to be able to see y’all represent GSU the way you do.
Oh and big Shout-Out to Micheaux for having a monster game! Monster…