Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2004

Opinion: A magical moment

April 22, 2004

Terra Nichols provided the kind of moment most sports fans only dream about last week against Santa Fe Trail.

Nichols, the Lady 'Cats' center fielder, came up to the plate in extra innings with her team down two runs, the bases loaded and two outs.

She held the game in her hands along with her bat.

Deliver a big hit here, or your team goes home with a loss.

After the game, Nichols said she hates those kind of situations. During the game, she didn't show it.

Instead, Nichols demonstrated the incredible patience that makes her such a solid hitter, working a full count by laying off some close pitches that the Santa Fe fans would still probably insist were strikes.

She then drilled a home run over the left field fence.

The drama of that moment is almost impossible to capture in print.

The game was in extra innings and the lead had gone back and forth, with both teams thinking they had victory sewn up only to see it slip away.

And then Nichols came in and provided the biggest swing of the night almost two and a half hours into the game.

It was an improbable hit, to say the least.

The Lady 'Cats hadn't hit the ball well all season, and getting a home run in that situation was almost too much to believe.

Watching the ball clear the fence was one of those super-rare instances where time almost stands still.

It was a spine-tingling, jaw-dropping moment. One almost expected everything to start moving in slow motion; for Nichols to slowly round the bases as the music from "The Natural" played and sparks rained down on the field from the lights above.

It was hard not to feel sorry for the Chargers, as they stood frozen for a moment, shocked, and then trudged off the field as the Lady 'Cats' danced at home plate.

It probably won't make the Chargers feel any better, but this was a moment Basehor deserved. Not just Nichols, not just the softball team, but the entire high school.

It has been a tough year in terms of wins and losses for Basehor teams this year. Many athletes spent this season getting used to new head coaches. Some juniors, like Mike Armstrong and Seth Lashbrook, face the possibility of having three new coaches next year.

But through it all, Bobcats in every sport have faced defeat with sportsmanship and camaraderie and celebrated their victories with grace and only a little bragging (when you shut down your arch-rival on your home football field, that's to be expected).

So far this year, victory has been difficult to come by, and the Bobcats have had few moments of spine-tingling, jaw-dropping joy like the one Nichols provided the other night.

They are the moments that you play sports for, ultimately. Every player deserves to taste them.

Athletes grow up in their driveways pretending to sink the game-winning shot in at the buzzer or on the sandlot pretending to hit the walk-off home run in the World Series.

Terra Nichols stole one of those moments from Hollywood and gave it to BLHS.

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