By Nick Childs
As a sports fan, I have been trying to look at the big picture when it comes to sports viewing. I ask myself questions like, what am I going to think of an experience like this in 10 years? 20 years? My point being, I don’t want to miss out an opportunity that I might be bragging about to my kids.
So far this past calendar year, I think my most meaningful experience was seeing Tim Tebow’s first TD pass and second start, in person. (His second start was that memorable comeback against the Texans. I hope in 30 years, Tebow will be a Bronco’s legend and that will be an incredible memory.
After being at the BYU vs. CSU game on Saturday, I have been thinking about what that game might mean to me down the road. Here is what I have come up with so far:
1. This was most electric atmosphere I have ever been a part of. The crowd was insane which makes me all the more excited for San Diego State to come to town.
2. It is the best experience I have had watching CSU’s varsity athletics. I specify varsity because I have been a part of two NCBA national championship teams in my time at CSU.
3. Jimmer Fredette is one of the best pure scorers and best all-around basketball players I have seen at the amateur level. I would love to be telling my kids that I saw the Naismith player of the year in person. Jimmer is the complete offensive package. He is quick, to go along with superior ball handling skills. He is great at creating space. (He has mastered the discrete push off that the refs somehow always seem to miss. He is great at finding open men when the defense collapses when he effortlessly gets to the paint. So whenever BYU is on TV, I urge all of you to watch him do his thing. You one day may appreciate that you did.
However, I have to put him second on my list of pure, amateur scorers that I have seen in person. Jared Bayless takes that cake. While I was living in Phoenix, I head a lot of buzz about this high school player that was heading to the University of Arizona. He was playing at St. Mary’s High School, and his team was in the state semifinals. From the first possession of the game I was awstruck. Bayless came down the floor, crossed his man, elevated higher than I have ever seen a high school player get up and drilled at 25-foot three pointer. He ended the game with something like 35 points. It was an easy 35 at that with plenty of highlights.
Other honorable mentions include former Gonzaga great, Matt Bouldin, and former Duke great, Abby Waner. Both of these players attended Thunder Ridge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. My favorite Matt Bouldin memory came from warm-ups of a game in which he was taking on Cherry Creek, my alma mater. He hit about 10 threes in a row, and when he finally missed one, our crowd chanted “overrated.” That’s when you know you are good. My favorite Abby Waner moment is similar to Bouldin’s but came during the game. She was lighting us up, and in the fourth quarter she missed a fall-away jumper, so, like the dumb high school students we were, we again chanted, “overrated.” The next time up the floor, Waner takes a quick look at the crowd and pulls up from, I kid you not 10 or 15 feet behind the 3-point line and drilled it! She then turned to the crowd with a smile on her face… High school kids can be so dumb sometimes. Why on earth would we even give her the chance to embarrass us like that? As if losing by 25 wasn’t bad enough. It was like rubbing salt in a wound.
On a sidenote: Cherry Creek’s men’s team went on to the state championship game, losing to Matt’s alma mater, Mullen High School. You can watch former Mullen standout, Devin Aguilar catch passes from Jake Locker at the University of Washington.
My point is this: Sports are special, and you never really know what exactly a sports memory might mean to you in 30 years. So from time to time, take a step back and think about these things. The memories that I have of these events don’t even scratch the surface of the events that I have seen, and I hope that others can say the same thing. Sports may not be the most important thing in the world, but they can touch us in the deepest ways, evoke the most emotion. Sometimes we cry in joy; sometimes we cry sadness; sometimes it’s a combination of the two. Regardless, it means something to us, and that’s why we love it so much.
(That last paragraph was for me. I started the last baseball season of my career on Sunday, and I have been entirely conflicted by it. All I know is that I have created memories that mean the world to me and may not mean anything to anyone else. That’s another great part about sports: each memory holds a differnt place in our heart.)
What memories still give you the chills? If you read this, please take 30 seconds to leave a summary of a memory that gives you goosebumps! We could get an awesome list going.