One of sport’s attractions involves unpredictability. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Sports are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
A movie is what it is—a fait accompli. Similarly, a Broadway play has a script. Even a live concert features music that’s already been written. But a sports event unfolds in actual time—a true reality show.
A game can break your heart OR send your spirits soaring. You never know. The price of admission is the same either way. Every time I go to Fenway I hope to see a perfect baseball game. Or a no-hitter. Or a great catch. If the hits come early then let there be a lot of them. Let there be a record set. Or maybe a fight!
(I was at Fenway when Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk had that fight at home plate and the benches emptied. Loved it!)
When it comes to Celtics games, I just want to see Boston win with some great plays along the way to get the crowd going.
And when the C’s are playing a lousy team—like the Phoenix Suns—a friendly wager makes the action more compelling. So during a recent trip to the “Garden” for a Celtics-Suns game I made a couple little bets to make the game more interesting, in case the Celtics romped (which they did). I bet on the Celtics and the “over,” the latter meaning that I guessed that there would be more than 219 points scored in total.
When there were less than five minutes left in the first quarter, and the Suns had yet to score a field goal, the “over” didn’t look so good. But then both teams got hot and eventually 250 points were scored, as Boston won 130-120.
One player in particular got hot—Suns rookie Devin Booker, who played one season at Kentucky before joining the Suns last fall as a 19-year-old rookie.
The Garden scoreboard shows the point totals for the players in the game and at one point in the third quarter someone noticed that Booker had 46 points. So then we focused on the rookie, who stayed hot in the fourth quarter and made a bunch of last minute free throws to end up with 70 points.
Wow! Only five NBA players had ever scored 70 points before—and Michael Jordan was not one of them. (Larry Bird holds the Celtic record of a mere 60 points.)
So I went home happy. The Celtics won big and an all-time record was set. The only thing missing was a fight!
New Hampshire State Representative Steve Vaillancourt recently passed away at age 65. The nine-term rep was a passionate and gifted orator. When he approached the well to take a microphone at the State House, no one left their seat.
Vaillancourt was no stranger to a microphone. In the early 1970s he was the legendary “Voice of the Plymouth State Panthers” for the college’s WPCR radio station. Not only did he do football, basketball and baseball, but also soccer, ice hockey and even wrestling.
Fans in opposing gyms didn’t always appreciate Vaillancourt’s commentary. At a game at Castleton State in Vermont, locals surrounded his broadcast space and one pulled a knife and threatened to cut his telephone line—if not Vaillancourt himself. Steve described his perilous situation to the fans back in Plymouth, who were helpless to help him. Fortunately, some Panther partisans in the gym saw Vaillancourt was in peril and came to his rescue.
Stevie Val was one of a kind. R.I.P.
Besides Devin Booker, what other five NBA players scored 70 points in a game? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on April 6 include Hall of Fame baseball catcher Mickey Cochrane (1903) and NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck (1978).
Sportsquote “I always said that if they have a golf course like this in heaven, I want to be the head pro.”
— Gary Player on Augusta National, the Home of the “Masters.” The 81st annual Masters Golf Tournament begins today (April 6.)
Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, David Robinson, and Egin Baylor.
Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.