Anyone needing an example of how important sports is to a young man or woman, I leave you exhibit A, one of hundreds of similar exhibits one may find across the country on almost any given day:
Saturday evening, Oxford ’s boys’ basketball team finished 32 minutes of excruciatingly intense basketball one point shy of Union Springs. I am sure each player that stepped on the floor is reliving moments where this could have been done better or that should have been executed more efficiently. One more basket or one more defensive stop, that was the thin line between victory and an arduous 35-mile drive back up Route 12 – a drive leaving far too much idle time for young men who suffered perhaps their most crushing defeat in any of their sports careers.
Let us be fair here: This was not a game Oxford performed poorly. Union Springs played superbly in the second half, and won the game thanks to the cool foul shooting hands of seniors Pat Chandler and Nick Schooley, who calmly bucketed 4-for-4 from the foul line in the waning seconds. It is in those moments where tremulous hands and butterflies aflutter in your belly can overwhelm a player’s nerves. Not here, however. In this instance, on that evening, one team executed just a smidgen better than the other.
As the clock ticked down toward zero, a buzzer-beating splash cleared the twine. Oxford sophomore, Cory Seiler, drew his team closer, fighting to the end. His hopes raised for an infinitesimal moment, that is, until he looked at the clock and saw it disappear to zero.