Saturday, January 12, 2013

< RM > story - Winners and Winners

Winners and Winners

As a high school coach, I did all I could to
help my boys win their games. I rooted as
hard for victory as they did.
A dramatic incident, however, following a
game in which I officiated
as a referee, changed my
perspective on victories
and defeats. I was referee-
ing a league championship
basketball game in New
Rochelle, New York,
between New Rochelle and
Yonkers High.
New Rochelle was
coached by Dan O'Brien,
Yonkers by Les Beck. The
gym was crowded to
capacity, and the volume of
noise made it impossible to
hear. The game was well
played and closely contest-
ed. Yonkers was leading by
one point as I glanced at
the clock and discovered
there were but 30 seconds
left to play.
Yonkers, in possession
of the ball, passed off - shot - missed. New
Rochelle recovered - pushed the ball up court
- shot. The ball rolled tantalizingly around
the rim and off. The fans shrieked.
New Rochelle, the home team, recovered
the ball, and tapped it in for what looked like
victory. The tumult was deafening. I glanced
at the clock and saw that the game was over.
I hadn't heard the final buzzer because of the
noise. I checked with the other official, but
he could not help me.
Still seeking help in this bedlam, I
approached the timekeeper, a young man of
17 or so. He said, "Mr.
Covino, the buzzer went off
as the ball rolled off the
rim, before the final tap-in
was made."
I was in the unenviable
position of having to tell
Coach O'Brien the sad
news. "Dan," I said, "time
ran out before the final
basket was tapped in.
Yonkers won the game."
His face clouded over.
The young timekeeper
came up. He said, "I'm
sorry, Dad. The time ran
out before the final bas-
Suddenly, like the sun
coming out from behind a
cloud, Coach O'Brien's face
lit up. He said, "That's
okay, Joe. You did what you had to do. I'm
proud of you."
Turning to me, he said, "Al, I want you to
meet my son, Joe."
The two of them then walked off the court
together, the coach's arm around his son's

No comments: