The game is over, but the stomach churning performance between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat keeps playing in my head. Not as a reminder of won and who lost, but it is embedded in my brain as a high definition display of what it means to give it your all.
The older and almost forgotten Spurs were determined to deny the younger but reviled Heats a back-to-back claim of an NBA championship. Eventhough I am a Miami fan, I could tell that the Spurs were dominating the best half of Game 6; Tim Duncan was a scoring machine, Tony Parker, an aggressive attacker and Manu Ginobili, a ferocious point guard. Getting to the end of the fourth quarter, the score was 94-89 against the Heats. 28 seconds was all that stood between the Spurs and a championship ring. The buzzer was about to ring, the ropes had been pulled and the Miami fans were leaving.
However, in the most stunning display of perseverance topped up with talent, 10 seconds later, Lebron James dropped a 3-pointer. Edging the score closer to 95-92. Still, with only 5 secs remaining, the odds were in favour of the Spurs and nobody would have faulted the Heats if one of their frustrated players smashed the ball into the stands. Yet, They chose to stay in the game – calm and collected. I lost it! Estrogen suppressed, adrenaline pumping through my arteries, I smashed my remote, hurled pillows at the TV and hollered until engorged veins pulsated against my throat.
When all seemed lost, Miami point guard, Ray Allen ducked into a corner and landed a 3-pointer. The game was tied. Jubliation cracked through and the Miami fans went berserk. By not giving up, the Heats went from the rejected to exalted. I admit, I am a trash-talking spit-fire with enough court rage to match a frustrated coach. But watching Game 6 taught me about the will to win. Even when the smell of defeat hang in the air and it seemed imminent that the Spurs would be crowned champions, the Heats refused to give in. When their back was against the wall and neither time nor fans were on their side, they fought wildly and forced the game into overtime.
The Spurs did not have my vote but they earned my respect. The tenacity of their play taught me that if you are going to lose, you do it with gusto. Block every attack, seize every chance, fight to the end – they were a worthy opponent. When the final buzzer rung, the score was a 103-100 win for the Heats, but what was ringing in my ears was my moment of truth. ‘Am I a worthy opponent to obstacles?’ When pushed to my limit and the smell of defeat hangs in the air, do I walk away or fight like Heats did?
By now, you know that the Miami Heats earned their second NBA ring in Game 7. Their struggle for the win gave me a play by play demonstration of how you pursue what you want. One of the things that inspired them was a locker room quote from NFL coach, Tony Dungy: “Your integrity demands that you step up and follow those dreams to a better place — to pick yourself up yet again and push on”