Have you ever wondered what would happen in life if things had been just a little bit different? Like ‘what if that happened? Or what about that? What if I had tied my shoes two minutes earlier, and had dodged traffic, then I might’ve been on time for work. Or, ‘what if my Mom had never met my Dad’, and what if they decided to live their life a little differently, I wouldn’t be here today. I mean really think about it now. Think back to a certain moment in your life where you could’ve done something different, whether it be something bad or something good, it could’ve changed your life completely! I think about that kinda stuff a lot.
I’m a firm believer that everything in this world happens for a reason and for a purpose, and after reading this article you might agree with me. Let’s get back into some more scenarios though. Okay, here’s one. A man set his alarm for 6:00, and needs to be somewhere at 7:30, but today he overslept, so he wakes up at like 7:04, and now he’s rushing to get to where he needs to be. He jumps into his car ten minutes later, and has less than twenty minutes, or else he’s late. So he drives on the highway, but his mind is still in bed, so he’s not giving 110% of his attention to the road, and hits a guy who at the same time happens to be coming from behind him, switching lanes. Both guys moved over to the same lane, and are now in a car accident, and are both late to where they’re going. But it could’ve easily been avoided for both guys. The first guy overslept, and because of that he was in a rush, and wasn’t paying attention to what he was fully doing. The second guy was either driving too fast or slow, and changed lanes at the wrong time. If the first guy woke up in time, he would’ve been more cautions when driving. As for the other guy, if he had just changed lanes ten seconds before or after he did, he would’ve been fine as well. See what I mean? It just takes one extra second for something to happen, and you never really know if you’re too early, too late, or right on time in that moment. And I don’t know what the reason for stuff like that is, but there’s a always some reason. Well, that same thing applies to Sports. It’s crazy when you think about it too. Here’s a few examples as to what I’m talking about.
It’s 2008. February 3rd 2008 to be more exact. Yes, you guessed it. The New England Patriots are up 14-10 against the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42, looking to be the first team in NFL history to go 19-0 in one season. There’s about one minute and twenty seconds left, and the Giants need a miracle to win the Super Bowl. Okay well now it’s second down, five inches to the first down, and Eli Manning throws a risky pass, almost intercepted by Patriots defensive back, Asante Samuel. Samuel touched the ball, and was very capable of making an interception. UGH HE WAS SO CLOSE!!!!! Ok, um, well, no biggie … except for what happened the very next play. Third down, and the Patriots defensive front rushes Eli Manning, but somehow doesn’t bring him down. I don’t know how, but he stays on his feet, and gets out of the pocket, and what he does next, well you should know by now. He closes his eyes, and flings up a pass to Giants Wide Receiver, David Tyree who catches one of the luckiest balls of all time, leaving everyone watching stunned. The thing is though, the guy covering David Tyree was no joke of a player. Rodney Harrison gave up this crazy catch, and it could’ve easily been avoided if he saw the ball .5 seconds earlier, and had swatted it out of the way. A few plays later, Manning leads the offense to a final, deadly, game ending touchdown to Plaxico Burres, leaving the Patriots offense in shock, and with only 35 seconds to play with. As you know, New England goes on to lose the game, and it would be their only loss that season, but think about it like I said before. If only Asante Samuel had intercepted the ball, or if only the defense had sacked Manning before he tossed the ball up, or even if only Rodney Harrison had smacked the ball down, or something like that, something, anything, basically anything else then what happened, the Patriots would’ve won the game, and would’ve been 19-0. But like I said, everything happens for a reason, and in the closing minutes of that game, there was a lot of ‘what if’ moments’ that could’ve happened, and would’ve changed the Football world the way we know it today.
Another example I like is in baseball. In the 2011 World Series, it was a great matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Texas Rangers. It was the bottom of the ninth inning, game 6, two guys were on base, the score is 7-5, and the Rangers were winning, and oh yeah, they’re already two outs away from a championship, oh wait, not only that, but the Rangers were TWO STRIKES away from a championship! Nefatli Felis is on the pitchers mound, and the batter for St.Louis is David Freese. Felis pitches it right over the plate to Freese. Like when I say the ball was ‘right over the plate’, it was RIGHT.OVER.THE.PLATE. Freese crushes the ball all the way to the right field wall, outfielder Nelson Cruz tries to make the catch, but the ball gets away from him, and bounces off of the wall, and by trying to make the play, the ball then slides into the outfield grass. While this is happening, the St.Louis baserunners are flying home, full speed ahead, and Cruz is trying to get the ball in as fast as possible, but it’s too late. 2 runs came in, and Freese is on third base, and the ball game is all tied up. But wait, it gets better. The next inning Texas responds. Rangers power hitter, Josh Hamilton crushes a two run home run to give the Rangers another two run lead. 9-7. However, in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Cardinals made the game 9-8, and then with two outs YET AGAIN against them, the Cardinals have two guys on base, and need one to score to keep any hopes alive. With two strikes also yet again against him, Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman hits a perfect line drive into center field bringing home a run, and knotting the game up … again! Next inning (11th), Cardinals defense plays perfect, which leads to a David Freese solo home run, giving the Cardinals the win. Series tied at 3 games apiece. But it already felt like the Cardinals had won. Game 7 felt like it was over before it even started. The Cardinals won 6-2, crushing every Texas Rangers fan’s heart. See what I mean though? If Freese had struck out, or even if Nelson Cruz had caught the ball, or even had just got it into the infield in time, the Texas Rangers would’ve won the world series that year! Not satisfied enough? Okay, here’s another big one.
2013, NBA Finals. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are already having a very exciting series, and just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, it does. San Antonio headed into Miami up 3 games to 2. You see where I’m going don’t you? Well anyways, the game stayed remotely close the entire first half, but after the 3rd quarter, the Spurs took command, and were up by like 10 points or something like that going into the fourth. During the fourth quarter the Heat started to draw back into the game, and before you know it, with around 6 minutes left, led by the big three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Heat had taken the lead. To the very end, the game was as close as one can really get. One possession the Spurs grab the lead, the next, Miami leads. With around one minute left, Spurs Point Guard, Tony Parker played great. The Spurs were down 89-86, and Parker hit this incredible shot. Step back three. Tie game. San Antonio makes a defensive stop, and next possession, Parker has yet again an another amazing play! So with 58 seconds left, the Spurs are now up 91-89. Next possession, LeBron turns it over, Tony Parker’s on the fast break, along with Manu Ginobili, and Parker passes to Ginobili, who takes it to the basket only to get fouled by Heat Guard, Ray Allen. Clear path foul, Manu to the line.Ginobili knocks down both free throws at the foul line. 93-89, Spurs lead with less than 40 seconds remaining. Okay, next possession ALMOST ends the same way. And I capitalized almost for a reason. LeBron takes a really bad shot, rebounded by Ginobili, who takes the ball up the court only to yet again get fouled. This time however, Ginobili only makes one free throw at the line. Ok… so now with 28.2 seconds left in the game, the Spurs lead 94-89. At this point, the game seemed all but over, San Antonio is basically a rebound, and two free throws away from a championship. The ropes were out, Miami fans were heading for the exits. After Ginobili’s free throws, Miami calls a timeout, and after they huddle up, their next possession goes like this : LeBron shoots a tough three pointer, misses, Miami gets the rebound, gives it back to LeBron, but this time, swish. 94-92, Spurs lead, 20.1 seconds left. Spurs call for time, and then Tim Duncan inbounds the ball to Kawhi Leonard, who at a young age hits only one of two free throws. Spurs are now up by three with the clock ticking. So next possession is the most memorable of all. We’ve all seen it, and because I’m a big Spurs fan, I don’t even feel like writing about this possession, so here’s a video of the luckiest, and yet possibly clutchest shot in NBA history : Ray Allen’s miracle three. Okay, yeah, great shot, cool, whatever. The thing that interests me the most about that shot though, is that Tim Duncan, the Spurs franchise player, and the greatest power forward of all time, wasn’t even on the court. Head Coach, Gregg Popovich had Duncan on the bench, and I’ll never know why. See, in this game, there’s A LOT of ‘what if’ moments that could’ve happened. If Ginobili or even Leonard had hit both of their free throws, or even if just one of them had hit both, the Spurs most likely would’ve won! And if Tim Duncan had been on the court after LeBron missed that first three, he probably would’ve gotten the rebound over Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen never would’ve had the chance to tie the game up! See what I mean? Things like that change the course of a game, and it’s weird to think about a few years later. Anyways, the game went into Overtime where the Heat would prevail with a close win. The series went to a game seven a few nights later where the Heat pulled out another exciting victory, and won the 2013 NBA Championship. Sigh
See what I finally mean?! In sports, and in life, there are SO MANY ‘what if’ moments that change the outcome of not only a single game, but change the outcome of an entire season, change the outcome of a players career and reputation, and even ultimately change the course of history, and time forever as we know it. If David Tyree hadn’t caught that pass, the Patriots go 19-0, and at the time, Tom Brady remains perfect in Super Bowls. And hey, it could’ve became more than just that! Who knows what would’ve happened to Eli Manning or Tom Coughlin? For all we know, they could’ve been let go a few seasons down the road, but because of that catch, he cemented himself in the history books, and Coughlin got a very well respected victory.
And if David Freese had struck out, or even popped out, the Rangers would’ve won the game, world series, and possibly could’ve remained dominant for many more years after that. Instead, it’s the St.Louis Cardinals who are still owning the league today. Hey, I’m not wrong.
And finally, those lovely Spurs of mine. If any outcome I mentioned had happened, and I really do mean ANY. Whether it being Ginobili hitting one more free throw, or Duncan grabbing that rebound, the Spurs win, their franchise looks even better than they already are, and LeBron James/Miami have one less title than they do today. Weird huh? However, think about it like this. Everything that happened was meant to happen. The Patriots may have lost that game, and then Tom Brady went down with an ACL the first game of the next season, and they even lost one more Super Bowl a few years later, but if they had won that 2008 one, they probably wouldn’t have won the 2014 one. But then again, going 19-0 is always better, and the Rangers, well… well I’m sure better years are down the road for them. And the Spurs came back the next season, and won it all against the Heat! Talk about revenge! But then again, I still think they’re a little hurt from that previous one. Okay, so maybe everything that happened to those three teams was genuinely bad in the overall run of things, but like I said, it all happened for a reason. A reason unknown, but still a reason.
Thanks for reading, see you next time … I hope.