With less than two minutes left in Tuesday’s game against Wake Forest, the Terps were behind in a two possession endgame scenario. At just the wrong moment, Eric Hayes got that dredded mezmerized “what do I do with this round thing” look on his face. Trapped near the sideline, he turned around and threw the ball out of bounds. There were no Terps even close to where he threw it. I leaped off my couch and yelled, “NO!” It was as if someone had just run over my hypothetical dog.
I don’t know about you, but this time of year I can hardly watch the Terps. At some point before it’s too late I’d like to get strapped to an EKG machine while watching a Terps game in February to determine if it’s actually a life threatening event for me. I’m not entirely kidding here. I get shortness of breath. I can feel my heart racing. This can’t be good.
The entire season comes down to the game tomorrow against UVA. In the grand scheme of life, this game should not mean that much to me, but it does. It’s not rational, especially because the outcome of this game is entirely out of my control, and it is, after all, just a college basketball game. But I am, like many of you, emotionally attached to this silly team, more so than any team since the championship year. These guys are the ultimate underdogs. It’s been written many times, but they literally are like a Hollywood script playing out in real life. Undersized. Criticized. Forgotten. They still have a chance.
It is at times fruitless to search for meaning in sports, but there is meaning here. If the Terps win tomorrow they keep hope alive for the little guy. Win a couple more games and they’ve done something that was seemingly impossible a month ago. These Terps are fighters, and they represent an ideal that we all like to believe is true, namely that people can overcome their shortcomings through hard work and dedication.
Everyone loves an underdog. I just hope this one doesn’t get run over.