(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why You Play to the Very End

Because you never know how the game will turn out.

Last year, the Phillies trailed the Mets 7-0 and were well on their way to losing a game. So much so that they let their long reliever, Clay Condrey, lead off an inning. Condrey doubled, the Phillies put some hits together, and they won the game, once again dispiriting the Mets.

Yesterday, Cornell led Syracuse, 9-6, in men's lacrosse with 5:30 left in the game and by 9-8 in the waning seconds when the Orange scooped up a loose ball, made a somewhat miraculous flip toward the goal, and an Orange player tied the game with four seconds left. That's right, when the reporters started to press the button on their stories of a big upset, they had to straighten them out and wait for the outcome -- a Syracuse victory in overtime. You can read about the game here.

I didn't watch the game live but wished that I had. Syracuse epitomized what competition is all about -- that within the context of a sporting contest, your players give the last full measure and play until the clock expires. The Cornell Big Red played a great game, worthy of a title, and their best player, Max Seibald, is a terrific player and leader. But what makes Syracuse a dynasty is that they not only recruit and develop some of the best talent in the country, but they also come up with plays like this and win titles.

The Orange battled with fifteen seconds left when all seemed lost. And for that refusal to quit, they got rewarded -- check that -- they rewarded themselves -- with another national title.


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