Saturday, August 11, 2007

My greatest live sports moment

I haven't been to nearly as many live sporting events as I would have liked to, but even so, I was lucky enough to see a few really amazing games in person. This one was the best.

The Setup: Florida State had been ranked #1 all season long until a terrible loss in South Bend against Notre Dame. Notre Dame was ranked #2. Fortunately we scored a late garbage TD to get the game within 7. The relatively close score on the road meant that the voters only dropped FSU one spot. We swapped spots with ND.

So we fucked it up again, just like 1991 and 1989 and 1987. But then, out of nowhere, Boston College beat Notre Dame in South Bend on a last second field goal. We were back in business. Now we had one game left, at Florida, who were also ranked in the top 5. Michelline and I had never been to Florida so we decided to go down and try to get some scalped tickets

The Game: We got to Gainesville and waited outside the stadium with about $100, I think. We couldn't find anything until midway through the first quarter when we were able to get a pair of tickets while we were trying to get to a sports bar. If you've ever been to a big time college game, you know that they oversell the stadium, and nobody pays attention to those numbers on the bleachers. It's usually standing room only, standing sideways. So we found our way over the the FSU section and got in on the edge.

We dominated early, getting into the red zone 3 times, but only getting 13 points. We went in at halftime 13-7, but felt pretty good because we had been moving the ball great and shutting the Gators down.

And we came out the same way in the third. Scored 2 more TDs to go up 27-7 and let a 3rd get away when Charlie Ward threw an interception in the end zone. That's when things started to turn a bit for the Gators. They scored a TD to pull back within 13, and when we were just about the score another TD to most likely put the game away, William Floyd fumbled inside the Gator 10. The Gators took it down for another TD and suddenly the score was 27-21.

So now it's under 6 minutes, FSU has the ball on their 21. Gators can take the lead with a TD and they have all the momentum. The crowd's going fucking nuts. First and 10, incomplete. 2nd and 10, incomplete. Now the noise is unbelievable. It's the single loudest place I've ever been in my life. The stadium is throbbing with the noise. The air is kind of shimmery, like you can almost see it. I can't talk to Michelline, even if I yell into her ear. My stomach is in knots because I know we're letting it slip away. And then this (Watch out for the sound the last 2 or 3 seconds, it kind of breaks up) -

It was all over after that, even after our shitty kicking game reared its head and we missed the XP. I've never heard a crowd go from so loud to so silent. Of course there were a few thousand of us FSU students screaming like crazy. We finished 33-21, and went on to win a National Championship, finally.

That was the best. I'm all drained now from writing about and watching the video (thank you, YouTube). Anyone else out there have a great live sports moment?

Maybe I'll do a post about my worst live sports moment, if I can dredge through the trauma. All I remember is wide something or other.

Posted by


Toast said...

But then, out of nowhere, Boston College beat Notre Dame in South Bend on a last second field goal. We were back in business.

This is why college football is so lame. Some other team beat the team you were trying to overtake in the "rankings" and therefore altered some judges' perceptions or some goddamned computer formula. Blech.

Chris Howard said...

No, it's why the ranking system is lame, but the actual football can be great.

Anyway, regardless of what happened in the rankings, it wouldn't have taken any drama away from the end of this game, which stands on its own as a classic.

michelline said...

It's wide right... wide right... I still see that in my nightmares. I'm sure John can sympathize, considering he was there with us.

michelline said...

I think the Cowboys/Redskin game in Texas Stadium on Labor Day of 1993 was AWESOME! The Redskins were the defending Superbowl champs and Dallas kicked their ARSES! Of course, that was also the trip where we had to restart the car every few miles all the way back to Florida...

John Howard said...

That was 1992.