We can be heroes, just for one day. We can be heroes, what d’you say? -David Bowie
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! I’m over it. Kinda. I still haven’t read the paper. I still haven’t watched Sports Center. Still haven’t returned any of the phone calls. Those horrible phone calls. But I’ll bounce back. I get knocked down, but I get up again. Jabbar Gaffney got knocked down. Jabbar Gaffney got up again. What a play, what a play. At the time, I was convinced it was going to be the next “the catch.” At the time, I thought Gaffney was going to be the next latter day Patriot. All tied up. Tom Brady, under pressure. Under pressure, this is our last chance. This is our last dance. Tom Brady under pressure. Tom Brady cool as a cucumber. Tom Brady finds Gaffney in the back of the end-zone. Gaffney climbs the ladder. He U-hauls it in. He gets jacked out of bounds. He manages to get a foot down. Did he get it? Did he get it? Touchdown baby! Touchdown! Up by seven. Woo doggie. If the Pats win this thing, Gaffney’s a hero. A Hiro. A Hiro Nakamura. Pats lose. He’s not. Just another great play to go in the annuls of forgotten great plays. That’s when the light bulb went off. The red light bulb went off on top of my head. Jay Greenberg style. What were some other great plays that were negated due to a loss? Smaht huh? Real smaht. “I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!” Fredo style. So lets do this thing. Would be heroes:
Don Strock: Don Strock led the nation in total passing and total offense while at Virginia Tech. Don Strock, Miami Dolphins. 1982 AFC Championship game. Orange Bowl. The Epic in Miami. Dolphins taking a beating. In comes back-up QB Don Strock. Don Strock, the Dolphins rock. Give ‘em that electric shock. There’s still time on the clock. He rallies his team. With Miami trailing the Super Chargers 24-10, Don Strock throws a 15-yard pass to WR Duriel Harris. Woop! Hook and ladder, baby! Hook and ladder. Woop! Harris laterals to RB Tony Nathan. Woop! He…could…go…all…the…way! He does. Touchdown baby. Touchdown to close out the half. The Dolphins go on to lose in overtime. If they win that game. If they win that game, that play becomes the greatest trick play ever. Don Strock becomes a hero. Oh, what could have been.
Side Note: During the 2003-2005 football seasons, Nathan was the running backs coach at Florida International University, under head coach, you guessed it, Don Strock. You remember FIU. The Brawl with the U. Yup. Them.
Endy Chavez: Endy Chavez, 2006 New York Metropolitans. National League Championship Series vs. the Cardinals. Game seven. Cliff Floyd hurt. Chavez taking his place in right. Game all tied up. One out in the sixth. Jim Edmonds on first. Up comes big Scott Rolen. Oliver Perez delivers. Swack! That ball is high! It is far! It is…caught!!! Chavez on his horse. Chavez, at top speed. Chavez at the warning track, plants his right foot, leaps at the wall, walking tall, makes the sno-cone special. Highway robbery. Saves the two-run bomb. He ain’t done yet. Not by a long shot, brother. He has the presence of mind to gather himself and make the perfect throw to Jose Reyes. Double up Edmonds. How about that? Tommy Agee and Ron Swoboda got nothing on this kid. All for naught. Beltran can’t get it done. Mets lose. How do you not swing at that? You really have to take the bat off your shoulder there. Just embarrassing.
Jack Nicklaus: The Golden Bear. Yup. He lost once in a while. He lost to the “Kansas Kid”. He lost to Tom Watson, the “Kansas Kid,” at the British Open at Turnberry back in 1977. Sherman, set the Way Back Machine. The Duel in the Sun. Arguably golf’s greatest tournament. Through the first three days, both Nicklaus and Watson had put up 68, 70, and 65 scores. They played together on Sunday. They played together on Sunday and matched each other shot for shot. Golf’s version of Bird/Dominique. Mano y mano. Blow for blow. Toe to toe. Then it happened. It happened on the 12th hole. The Bear hits a spectacular 25 foot putt. Yowza! Goes up two. Ballgame. Not so fast there, Sparky. The Kansas Kid isn’t finished yet. No siree Bobby. Nails a 60-foot putt on 15 to tie it up. Birdies the par-5 17th hole. That’s ballgame.
Valeri Zelepukin: Valeri Zelepukin, New Jersey Devils. Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. New York Rangers. Devils down one nothing. Martin Brodeur pulled. 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Faceoff in the Ranger end. Madison Square Garden is going crazy. They’re already dancin’. Victory dancin’. They put their left leg down, their right leg up. They tilt their head back, and finish the cup. Beastie Boys style. The Devils get the puck down low to Claude Lemieux. Lemieux, across the crease to Valeri Zelepukin. Zelepukin shoots. Saved! Rebound back to Zelepukin. He shoves it in! Zelepukin scores! It’s all tied up! It’s all tied up! Eight seconds left ladies and gentleman. We’re going to overtime! Actually two overtimes. You know what happened then. Howie Rose does too: “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! And the Rangers have one more mountain to climb!” Zelepukin who?
Tim Duncan: 2004 Western Conference Semifinals vs. the Lakers. Game six. 11 seconds remaining. The Mamba hits a jumper. Lakers up one. Is this game done? It should be fun. Pass the Cinnabon. Time out. The Spurs inbound to the Big Fundamental. Time a tick tick tickn’ away. Shaq Daddy all in his mug. Stumblin’, bumblin’, Duncan hits the fall away. Hits the fall away and hits the deck. Geronimo, look out below. It’s over, it’s all over. Sort of. Point 4 seconds left. Three time-outs later the Glove inbounds to Derek Fisher. The Fish that saved L.A. Fisher catches it. Fisher shoots it. It’s good! It’s good! Lakers win!
Their defeat stolen from their jaws of victory. These guys gave it their best. But I guess their best wasn’t good enough. You wanna be a hero? Huh Binky, do you? You can save the cheerleader, save the world. Or, you can just win baby!
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!