The other day, I saw a coach in a sixth-grade girls interfaith basketball league pull his point guard out to halfcourt and have her stand there dribbling the ball for four minutes. His team had the lead. His team was also better. His opponent (the team my daughter Katie was on) was beat up and in foul trouble and in no position to go chasing. Katie’s team had needed something of a miracle performance to even get to the championship game. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Anyway, this coach had his guard dribble out the last four minutes of the third quarter. It was uncomfortable to watch; four minutes is a LONG TIME to watch someone just dribble a basketball. The parents on the other team were not sure exactly how to react. The parents on my daughter’s team were screaming “Come on, this is ridiculous, play basketball!” The clock just ticked down and ticked down and ticked down.
I must admit that I watched this with a certain amount of awe.
And I thought to myself: What must it be like to be an adult and want to win a basketball game with 11 and 12-year-olds that badly?
And then I thought: Wait a minute. I KNOW what it is like. Every sports fan does.