Sports column: The Lowest Low

By Jon Gluskin

Every football fan has watched a nail-biting game that goes down to the wire. The kicker steps onto the field to attempt a chip-shot field goal to win the game.

He approaches the ball, kicks, and it’s short. Or it’s wide right. Or it’s wide left.

Even if your favorite team has just won the game because of the miss, if you have a heart and a soul, you feel for that kicker. Whenever I’ve seen something of that nature happen, I’ve thought to myself, “I’m so glad I’m not that guy. I can’t even imagine what it feels like.”

A few weeks ago, I became “that guy.”

My intramural football team was in a tight game down the stretch.

I had played a hell of a game. I made a handful of nice catches. I made some crucial defensive plays at safety.

Our team sent the game to overtime, with the score locked up at six.

Our defense gave up a touchdown, and the opposition missed the extra point. It was do-or-die for our offense.

We came right onto the field and scored a quick touchdown. We were attempting the one-point conversion for the win.

I lined up in the slot on the strong side. The ball was snapped. I ran a quick slant to the end zone and the defender cut it off. I broke to the outside.

Our quarterback rolled with me across the field as I had a step and a half on the defender. The quarterback threw the ball my way and I knew we had the game won. I put out my hands to catch the ball. I heard my teammates on the sideline start to cheer.

And I just dropped it.

I thought I had it, but the ball squirted out. And as I dove after it, it hit the ground.

We ended up losing the game in the next overtime.

Life can be cruel sometimes. In two games, I hadn’t dropped a pass. In all my times playing football growing up, I’ve never dropped a pass like that.

My friend told me, “999 times out of a 1000, you catch that pass.”

Well, just like the Little Giants were able to win their game against the hated Cowboys ‘one time,’ I had my ‘one time’ too.

Our intramural team has been playing together for three years now. Our overall winning percentage is a modest .200.

In all my life and experiences playing sports, I’ve never felt so bad. I don’t think there could be a worse feeling in sports.

As I lay on the ground, face in the grass, I was half-expecting to hear the Southwest Airlines bell go “ding,” and to hear a voice in the sky saying, “Wanna get away?”

I didn’t want to just get away – I would have liked to have been buried six feet under ground.

I knew I should have stayed at the library and finished my homework instead of playing in the game.

There’s not one thing in the world a teammate can say at that point. There were so many plays that should have been made which would have changed the game earlier, but that didn’t matter.

I had a chance to be the hero, but instead I choked.

All I could think about for the next two days was that play. It was as if a DVD player was inside my head with the play on repeat.

I was Bill Buckner, letting the ball roll between his legs during the World Series. I was Scott Norwood, missing the kick to win the Super Bowl.

And to think, all I cost our team was an intramural victory.

I can’t even imagine how it felt to cost a team a title game victory.

I don’t want to know.

Jon Gluskin is a junior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]