They were supposed to be in a rebuilding year … they weren’t supposed to be this good. They weren’t favored to win the section championship, but they did.
They proved a lot of people wrong, and though they fell in the semifinal round at state today, the Ellsworth Panthers still have one game left. It may not have been the game they wanted to play, but they have nothing to hang their heads about.
I think it hurts worse to lose by one point than it does to lose by 20 or 30. One point … a missed free throw, a missed basket … a missed opportunity. It can eat at a person, you know. And it isn’t just the players it bothers, it’s the parents, the fans, the community. Somehow the words, "it’s just a game" are a little harder to swallow.
The Panthers dropped their semifinal game, 61-60, against Sebeka this afternoon. I’m sure our Daily Globe sports editor, Aaron Hagen, has put together some photos and a story for our Saturday edition, so you can read all about it in print or online at www.dglobe.com.
I didn’t get to see today’s game in person. Somehow, I thought sitting at home and watching it on TV would be a little less stressful. I was wrong. My heart still pounded and my hands still shook. Fortunately, I had the luxury of pacing my living room floor … you can’t do that in the stadium!
I missed the cheers, the whistles … the atmosphere of being there, and I also missed the tears.
I’m glad I missed the tears. I’m glad the last game I saw in person was a game our boys won. It was a game in which my nephew scored six points. It was a game that, when over, left smiles on the faces of our Panther players and our Panther fans.
The boys will play their final basketball game of the season at 10 a.m. Saturday in the consolation bracket. I hope they win, I wish them well, but most of all, I thank them for providing Panther fans with so much – perhaps a little too much – excitement!