Thursday, March 10, 2011

Everyone Fails Redux

Yesterday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball team lost to Oklahoma State. It was a close contest with Nebraska losing by one, failing to convert a basket at the end of the game that would have won it.

I took a special interest in the game because Nebraska’s senior point guard, Lance Jeter, played high school basketball at Beaver Falls, PA—a league opponent of our local team (Quaker Valley).

As a junior in 2005, Jeter helped Beaver Falls win WPIAL and PIAA (State) championships. In the class AA title game, he banked in a 30 foot shot at the buzzer in the third overtime to give Beaver Falls a 79-78 victory over Aliquippa. He also had made a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation to tie the game. A few weeks later, he beat Aliquippa with two free throws in the PIAA semifinals.

In 2006 when Lance was a senior at Beaver Falls, he was the WPIAL high school athlete of the year.  (Boy's High School Athlete of the Year: Lance Jeter) Along the way, he beat an excellent Quaker Valley team in the PIAA semifinal, converting a free throw with 3.2 seconds left to give Beaver Falls a 71-70 victory. (Beaver Falls guard does it again)

As his high school coach said at the time, “When the game is on the line, the ball seems to find its way into his hands, and every time the kid comes through.”

But not yesterday. With 16 seconds left, Nebraska got the ball into Lance’s hands. After a teammate set a screen to free him, Lance drove across the lane. As he started to turn toward the basket, he tripped over the feet of his opponent and fell to the court, losing possession to an Oklahoma St. player.

Despite all of his prior successes and last minute heroics, Lance failed.

I suspect Lance will always remember this moment. On occasion, he’ll probably feel that unique twinge of regret that comes from an opportunity lost.

But I also suspect that Lance realizes that everyone fails. And that he also knows the best players fearlessly want the ball in their hands at the end of the game.

Congratulations Lance on an excellent career at Nebraska.

Copyright 2009-2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads; All Rights Reserved


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