During "March Madness," I get nostalgic about sports and wonder, "what would have Life been like if....."
In the 1986 film 'Best of Times,' the late, great Robin Williams plays "Jack" the guy who literally "drops the ball in the big game." For years, he is tormented by that one moment he feels defined his life as a loser.. Not only do his fellow citizens join in with the torture, 'Jack' has the game on film and is seen playing and replaying that dropped pass. He's doomed. Can't 'get over' it. Then Darla, 'the hooker with a golden heart' whose heard more than enough about that night in their 'sessions,' challenges him by saying, "Play the game again." This leads to scheming and dreaming while marital problems face 'Jack' and his good friend, 'Reno Hightower' (great sports name, right?) played by Kurt Russell. Of course, the game is played again, our hero does catch the ball...scores...erases thirteen years of crap...couples reunite and everyone lives happily ever after. "Jack" got what I've heard some athletes say they wish they had...another chance to "make it right."
What if Bill Buckner landed that ball instead of it going between his legs? What if certain folks hadn't decided that THIS error cost the Red Sox a World Series? What if the sports broadcaster hadn't decided to turn the camera onto the fan in the Cubs cap and headphones forever declaring "Steve Bartman" guilty of fan interference, "causing" the complete meltdown of that team and rise of the Marlins?
These situations led to the brilliant series, "5 Reasons You Can't Blame..." by ESPN. It takes these myths and legends about games we have seen or heard of and tells the truth about each. Mr. Buckner didn't lose a World Series...he wasn't even the only one to blow a play in that game! Mr. Hartman wasn't the only fan going for the ball that night...we could've had another surname associated with "fan interference." Life-Defining Moments.
Then there's my personal favorite Life Defining Moment:
NCAA Tournament: North Carolina Tar Heels VS my Michigan Fab Five. (Grandma's from Detroit, made them my home team.) I might have been overconfident, so what? Well......
That night, I had two choices. #1. Stay home and watch Michigan win. #2. Go to a private party a few blocks away. Hmmmmmmm. I chose the party! Nothing "out of the ordinary" was going to happen between the Tar Heels and the Fab Five anyway, right?
As we all know, it was the "Chris Webber No Times Out Left Game" where folks erroneously blamed this kid and that single action for the Michigan loss and Tar Heel win. Ugh! I missed it!! I've often wondered what Life would have been like if the ref had called a "walk" on Webber as he started down the court that night? What if Michigan had won? What if I'd stayed home that night instead of going to that party? Would any of the people go back and change what happened to them on their "fateful" nights if they could? Though no athlete, my answer: No. The Party every time!
Why? It was a Life Defining Moment for me. While Michigan played North Carolina for the title, I was meeting the love of my life...and the future father of my son, Blake. Let's call it "One (Life Long) Shining Moment."