Sunday, March 22, 2009

switched allegiance

For 39 minutes and about 50 seconds a table of dedicated viewers stared at one screen and cheered, often very wildly, for Western Kentucky in their game on Saturday against Gonzaga. Their focus on the one game was such that I wondered if they were Western Kentucky alums. After a spell it became clear that they were not fans of WKY, but bettors hoping the team would cover the 11 point spread. Their enthusiasm was so excessive that they regularly rifled up from their seats after a long three point shot by WKY or a slam dunk.

Often groups of friends/alums/bettors will pool their resources and bet a large sum on a particular game in hopes of a big payoff. Earlier in the day I had met a fellow on the elevator who was in Las Vegas with college buddies and had 800 dollars on Villanova. Villanova prevailed so this fellow no doubt is much happier today than he had been when we conversed in the elevator. Pooling money for a large collective wager, must have been the case for the 39 minute and fifty second fans for WKY.

Toward the end Gonzaga was up by more than the spread, so the dedicated WKY rooters were particularly excited when WKY mounted a comeback. And what a comeback it was. Stealing passes, nailing threes...with each basket WKY narrowed the gap almost certainly going to get close enough to Gonzaga to cover the 11 point spread. Every basket seemed to confirm a huge win.

But then something strange happened that could only happen in this venue. With only fifteen seconds remaining WKY had the ball down by two points. The comeback had been almost too good. When WKY threw up a three to try to win the game, the dedicated screamers exulted. He makes the three, and WKY wins the game and they win their bet. He misses the three, they lose by one, but they still cover.

So up on their feet screaming wildly, the group was startled when the shot missed, but a WKY player tapped it in, making the game a tie. Not a good thing. Looks like overtime. Maybe bye bye big bucks.

Therefore, abruptly with nine seconds left, these ersthwile wky fanatics started screeching for Gonzaga to score a goal. Thirty nine minutes and 50 seconds high fiving like mad for WKY, and then ten seconds shouting maniacally for Gonzaga.

When Gonzaga scored at the buzzer making WKY bettors winners, high fives were such that it became impossible to watch the oncourt celebrations because the revellers were blocking the screens.

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