Last night, the Zags narrowly avoided an upset-minded San Francisco squad thanks to the one and only Rasir Bolton. Gonzaga first led in the game 3-2, and didn’t reclaim that lead until the waning seconds, when Rasir Bolton made the go-ahead basket with a few seconds remaining.
The Hilltop always gets filled to the brim when Gonzaga rolls to town, usually with a pretty even fifty-fifty split in fandom. As is usually the case for these games in these little “high school gyms,” some temporary seats are established, and last night it provided a bit of fireworks.
It makes for thrilling environments, and also the potential for dumb people do do dumb things, like try and get in the middle of the Gonzaga happy scrum and scream in Bolton’s face.
Understandably, this wasn’t just an immediate explosion of anger. This had time to percolate. Things started to head up after Bolton hit his three-pointer to bring the Zags within five.
The man in the green shirt was more more calm on the subsequent possession, when the Zags stole the ball and raced down the court for a Nolan Hickman lay-up. Here, we can see the rage building. He doesn’t even get out of his seat. He just vacantly stares across the court.
San Francisco scored to take the lead 75-73, but the Zags were able to tie the game again with a big boy move to the hoop by Anton Watson, who was also fouled (and missed the free throw). This time, the man in the green shirt stands up in disbelief.
Here he is, slowly creeping onto the court.
After starting what would be the Zags’ final possession in a relaxed pose,
he visibly tenses up when Timme receives the ball, clenching his fists and drawing them closer together. The energy, the passion, and most importantly, the fear, is coursing through his veins.
Timme begins to make his move. He stands up a little, he sits back down. In the moment, he settles for an in-between half squat.
Timme goes up for the shot. He misses! Time stands still. The man in the green shirt is frozen in this position, fists clenched.
But no! Bolton grabs the rebound and puts the ball back in the bucket, getting fouled in the process. The Zags take a 77-75 lead. The rage explodes from the man in the green shirt. The first, and most obvious target, the referee.
He hurls his arm in disgust, firing an imaginary 100 mph fastball at the referee’s head. That was no foul he probably screams with a few other choice words attached.
Now, the rage has completely taken over. He stands alone on the baseline, sharing that space with just Drew Timme and the cameraman.
Livid. Absolutely livid. The man in the green shirt has never seen such a travesty in his entire life.
Rasir Bolton emerges from the baseline crowd, grinning, surrounded by his teammates. The man in the green shirt approaches.
A grown man, alone, among four college players. The man in the green shirt, dressed as if he is coaching a YMCA basketball game, appears to be in a huddle with his team. The anger seethes. You can feel it from the television screen.
Rasir Bolton, the king of kings, has no time for the man in the green shirt.
After much too long spent standing on the baseline screaming at the referees, the Gonzaga players, and presumably the world, the man in the green shirt is finally escorted back to his seat.
There was still time, still energy. Rasir Bolton missed the following free throw. But the man in the green shirt is dejected, drained, and defeated. He has no life left in his fight. A champion of passion, he left it all out on the court. Literally.
The lasting lesson? Joy always wins in this world.