Snatching a tie from the jaws of victory and defeat, all at once
Sunday, September 08, 2019
Another heavy sports day, from playing pickleball in the morning, and then watching, simultaneously, Detroit Lions football, and the US Open men's tennis championship match, one on the TV, the other on my laptop. They had the misfortune of being on at the same time, both starting in the 4 PM hour.
Unlike yesterday, where the young up and comer in the form of Bianca Andreescu took out the all time great Serena Williams, in the men's final, Rafael Nadal managed to hold off his younger opponent Danill Medvedev, in a very thrilling 5 set marathon. Nadal had it all but won in the third, to the point that in the post match interview, the engaging Medvedev claimed to have been thinking about what remarks he wanted to say on the podium. But he managed to claw his way back, and win the 4th set as well. And then in the 5th, he was down 5-2 and had two championship points against, but he managed to break serve, and get to 5-4 and even have a break point to even things up. But Nadal came through to win his 19th major, and as a fan of his from his early days, I was stoked to see him get within 1 major title of Roger Federer's record 20 titles.
Unfortunately, I also watched the Lions play the Arizona Cardinals. Truth be told, they played about 3 and a quarter decent quarters, holding a 24-6 lead in the 4th, and when Arizona kicked a field goal, it almost felt like capitulation. But they grabbed another touchdown, and got to within one score, and when Detroit attempted to run out the clock, an incident occurred that will join the pantheon of "WTF Lions???" plays. The clock was around 2:45 left in the game, another first down would have pretty much sealed it, and the team was lined up, ready to snap the ball...and they did snap the ball, and run a well designed, well executed play to get the first down...but the new offensive coordinator over on the sidelines had called time out. And naturally, when they ran the play over, they failed to get that first down. And naturally, because this is the Lions we're talking about, Arizona, led by a rookie quarterback in his first real NFL game, went down the tied and scored a TD and a 2 point conversion to tie the score, to send it to overtime.
Arizona scored in OT to take the lead, but thank to a few years old rule change, the field goal they scored on the first possession did not end the game. Detroit responded with a field goal to tie the game again, so they did manage to avoid defeat, as the rest of the overtime period went uneventfully. Well, except for Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford nearly gifting Arizona the ball with 5 seconds to play. Fortunately, the defender dropped the ball, as if he couldn't believe what he'd found. Game ended in a tie, but the last 20 minutes encapsulated the misery that this franchise has been putting its fans through over the past 60 years. Against the worst team on the schedule, the Lions tried to give away a game that they had all but won, and in the end, were lucky to not lose it outright. I guess that's a slight silver lining, but that game sure does suggest we fans are in for a long frustrating season. And as the Detroit Tigers just lost their 100th game of the season today, it's something fans in the area are all too familiar with these days.
But at least Nadal won, and at least Michigan hung on yesterday, and at least I played and didn't hurt myself, though the groin/hip was getting kind of uncomfortable during the end of my time out on the court. We'll see how it feels tomorrow.