Do you remember why you fell in love with sports? Was it the first time you cheered for grown men playing a child’s game with the grit and determination of those on a mission, only to watch their youth exuberance upon successful completion of said task? Reaching a goal… and scoring one! How about the life-lessons these games teach us: Teamwork; Don’t give up; Never quit; If you trust in your preparation, you’ll be prepared for the outcome (and countless other one-liners coaches have used to remain with us). How many times will you see all the reasons you fell in love with sports on display at the same time, on just another night in New England.
The undefeated New Orleans Saints marched down the field with and scored a go-ahead touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Drew Brees to Kenny Stills. It seemed like their could never be chemistry between New England’s QB Tom Brady, and his band of makeshift wide receivers, as drops stall drives that started with promise. Some questionable play-calling and poor time-management by the Saints gives the Patriots one last chance to pull off a miracle at Foxboro. A graphic goes up on the screen conceding the victory to the Saints. Tom Brady completes a pass to Julian Edelman a short time later, then another to Austin Collie, then another to Aaron Dobson. In what seemed like seconds, Brady had led his team within reach of the endzone. Needing a touchdown to win, Brady dropped back to pass, living out our childhood dream before our eyes. It’s in the air… it’s caught… TOUCHDOWN!! Kenbrell Thompkins hauls in the 17-yard pass before he steps out the back of the endzone. Hands are raised, the home crowd cheers, and the Saints are left to wonder how they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Not too far away, the Boston Red Sox host the Detroit Tigers in the second game of the American League Championship Series. Like the first game, the Red Sox struggled to get a hit early, going nearly six innings before putting one in play. The Tigers exploded for four runs in the sixth, building a 5-0 lead. Max Scherzer struck out 13 Boston batters before he left the game, and it seemed like the Tigers were cruising to a 2-0 series lead as the scene would shift to Detroit. First Will Middlebrooks doubles with one out in the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury walks… and it starts to get interesting in Boston. Shane Victorino strikes out, but after Dustin Pedroia singles the bases loaded, Tigers manager Jimmy Leyland calls for his closer. With two outs and the bases loaded, David Ortiz steps into the batter’s box to face Joaquin Benoit. The build up… the pitch… the HISTORY! That baseball and that bat meet once, and in that one moment, the lives of many are forever changed, as the man they call Big Papi touches home plate after his grand slam ties the game at five. The storybook ending to the just another night New England wouldn’t be complete without the victory earned in the bottom of the ninth, but fathers and mothers will tell their sons and daughters about the night legends named Brady and Papi made magic on a mid-October night.
-Joseph Haas, HCoftheNYJ.com
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