The Shot Heard Around The East Village

Don Holley Issue: Section:

As a father, why did I attend the games that my son played on his middle school basketball team ?  Over three consecutive (his 6, 7 & 8 grades), I only missed one game.  In more than half of them, he didn't even get off the bench.  This was me in "supportive dad / basketball enthusiast" role.  Meanwhile, the 2010-2011 regular season for Tompkins Square Middle School ended with a record of 10 & 5.  Yet somehow, out of 26 teams, they were 'seeded' as # 18, meaning that, according to the number crunchers, there were 17 statistically superior teams.  

It began with an easy W in the 'play in game,' the last game at home.

W over the # 5 seed, (that had lost only two games, to the # 1 seed).

W over the # 3 seed, (that had beaten TSMS at home).

W over the # 7 seed, (that had beaten the team that spanked TSMS in its worst loss of the season).

And (ta da) here it was, Sunday, March 13th at the Manhattan Middle School Championship game against the # 1 seed in their home gym.   

It all concluded just two weeks ago, though it seems like ages have passed.  This baby was A tough game, a rough game that became an insane game by the end of play.  Points were at a premium do to many contributing factors: young-teenage jitters, hard fouls, an overly enthusiastic crowd and certainly, the enormity of playing in "the championship."   A real dogfight.

Tied at halftime.

Tied at the end of regulation.

Tied with 8 seconds left in OT.

Turn to video.

Drew to Isaac (one dribble)

Isaac to Charlie (two dribbles)

No time left to waste ... he fires up long "3" that nearly scrapes the ceiling.

And in the biggest game of his life, he took the biggest shot in the game and hit the shot as his team wins the championship!!

My son, Charlie, brought home what sports are about.



One game, all the marbs.

Since the game, I replay the 1978 Joe Walsh song in my head, Life's Been Good.

"Its tough to handle, this fortune and fame, everybody so different, I haven't changed."

As many people around the school have, for me, but especially for my son, the monster.  And they haven't really changed, they just treat you differently, in some cases, Very differently.  A bit mind blowing for a 14 year old.  

Let's face it, if you have kids, it is rather improbable your kid's team gets to compete in the championship game.  

If he/she gets to the championship contest, how much time will your kid get to play ?

If they play, how many times will the moment to end the season find the ball in their hands ?

If that happens, how many will take the shot ??

If that happens, how many will make the shot ???   

Take this with you, from the dad that attended those many games.

Clock winding down, in the last team game of his middle school career, and he scores the last basket of the middle school season.

Yeah, that's the kid who's dad was at every game.

Is there a lesson here ?   

A correlation ?  

What can be said ... I do know that sweet dreams are made of this, and nobody who was there will EVER forget it.  & I mean  N E V E R,  E V E R.  

Pardon my French, but this shit just doesn't happen.

Cept it did.


It was time for the middle school version of "March Madness."  It is pretty simple: you play until you lose or you get to the Championship Game.

They did.

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