Sunday, March 1, 2009

One Man's Garbage...

I took my wife and kids yesterday to the Delaware-James Madison basketball game. It was a fun dynamic, since Meaghan went to JMU and I went to Delaware. The Hens dominating performance, however, caused Meaghan to become somewhat disinterested midway through the first half.

Maya and Kevin enjoyed the concessions, the halftime show and the t-shirts that were thrown into the stands after every made UD three-pointer. (memo to both teams, work the ball inside, it will free up your outside shot).

It wasn't until the end of the game, though, that I got what I needed.

With UD up comfortably and about two minutes to go, Coach Ross began to empty his bench. Anyone who's ever played hoops probably refers to this affectionately as "garbage time." The bench warmers get in the game and try to squeeze off as many shots as possible before the buzzer sounds. Most fans are heading up the steps, or thinking about where to eat after the game.

I know it well, because that was the kind of playing time I got at Delaware. 

This is, of course, with the exception of a road game at William & Mary when the first string off-guard was injured and the second string off-guard picked up his third foul in the first half. I seriously think the coach contemplated asking the ref if we could compete with four players before he pointed a finger at me and waved me in the game. I did well, though.

I'm getting distracted though, because this post isn't about me. It's about Samer Madarani.

If you look at his bio on the website, you'll see that he's a 5-10 150-pound walk-on freshman point guard who went to high school locally (all-conference, not bad), but that's not why this post is about him.

If you look at the boxscore, you'll see that his line was: 1 minute, 1-2 from the line, and a turnover, but that's not why this post is about him.

If you look at his season stats, you'll quickly realize that yesterday was his first points of the season, and then you might start to get the picture.

For 36 seconds, Madarani was all over the floor. He broke the press, got fouled on the way to the hoop, and then, with about seven seconds left in the game, he dove through the legs of the tallest player on the court in an effort to steal the ball away.

Seven seconds left. 

Delaware was up by 14. 

Some people were already in the parking lot.

I don't know Samer Madarani other than his picture in the program. And it's safe to say that I'll never know him well enough to tell him what he did to inspire a 38 year-old ballplayer with aching knees, ankles, and the equivalent of a small child's weight hanging on him since his playing days.

But I saw all I needed to see in those 36 seconds to know what kind of player he probably was in every Blue Hen practice this season.

And how much his teammates appreciate him. 

And how proud that coaching staff is of him.

Now, where the hell did I put my sneakers?