In almost 35 years of writing about sports for newspapers, I’ve been privileged to cover the U.S. Open golf tournament, the MLB and NHL All-Star games, and everything else from the NBA and NFL to big-time boxing — when there was such a thing.
But sometimes it’s the little moments on the small stages that you appreciate most.
Saturday night I covered a Division II men’s basketball game between Queens University of Charlotte and tiny Coker College from Hartsville, S.C. (http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/sports/16564588.htm). In the midst of a hard-fought but mistake-filled game between these two teams I caught this exchange between Queens coach Brian Good and Coker coach Dan Schmotzer.
At one point in the second half a Queens player — I forget who and maybe that’s for the best — tossed up one of the ugliest shots in a game that had a lot of them. It caromed off the backboard and went to the opponents, who promptly threw it away.
Good, who was a capable point guard for Wisconsin in his playing days in the early 1990s, went to one knee with a look down the sideline which could only be interpreted: “I can’t believe my guy just took that shot.”
Schmotzer, a more emotional veteran coach who’s one of my favorite “characters” in college basketball, reacted with some sympathy and a smile. (His team was having its own issues with putting the ball in the basket.)
“Hey, he could play for Coker,” he said.