Monday, September 7, 2009

The Greatest Week One Game Ever Played (in 2009)

Once in a while, you forget about the standings. You forget the stakes, the pressure, the grandeur and the "Championship Prospects". It could be one of those long nights where you wake up from a nap and put on the TV.

Labor Day is a tribute to all of us who put in our hard work in whatever we do. In sports, we often get caught up in the "meaning" of games. Today, I took a day off from this too. Tonight, I just put on the TV and watched some football.

Some of the greatest moments I can remember in sports came as a result of casually tuning in without expectation and last night was no exception. With practically every MLB game in the books this day, all I had left was a mostly meaningless game between Miami, FL, and Florida St. over in Tallahassee.

Was it? If you look at "BCS Standings, Heisman Hopes, and all that", the game doesn't amount to anything. But on this night, we were treated to the most entertaining game of the weekend, bar none.

Imagine my surprise when is saw Miami take a 24-23 lead in the fourth quarter. I was full of wonder when sophomore QB Jacory Harris, of Miami, alluded several linebackers, and instead of running wildly, he STOPPED.

A QB with lots of room just STOPPED as if the play was frozen in time! Harris looked down field, found his man Travis Benjamin, and fired a laser right into his arms. It was a sign of great things to come for the Hurricanes, a beaten football program who haven't had much of anything to celebrate lately.

Imagine my surprise when Harris led the Canes to a touchdown, not only through his elusiveness, but with his stellar accuracy on this night. 21 for 34 he was, for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Interestingly enough, the two biggest TDs of the night were capped off not by Harris, but by running backs Javarris James and Graig Cooper.

But what a night. Even though Miami had that 24-23 lead, it was QB Christian Ponder who pulled his best Tim Tebow impression and ran in a semi-spread offense to the tune of two huge first downs, and a great run for some 10-20 yards. Let's not forget the Seminoles' last chance with about 6 shots at the goal line with 17 seconds left (a pass interference call gave a slight boost of life to FSU). The last play of the game was a pass from Ponder out to Jarmon Fortson that was dropped at the bitter end. The game was as competitive as it gets, and in the end the Hurricanes rose victoriously.

Imagine THAT! The sheer thrill of the fight between both teams was one of the greatest highlights of my weekend in sports. I enjoyed every second of the fourth quarter between two teams that, quite honestly, will factor almost nothing into the Championship Race.

No matter. This was a game I will remember for a good while and I was privileged to be a part of it. It goes to show that sometimes, the greatest moments in sport are games, people, and events that we witness by simply taking a... break from our labor, soaking it all in.

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