An annual Memorial Day weekend event - the NCAA Lacrosse championship game!
Each year as lacrosse season begins, my husband, an alumni and former lacrosse player for Johns Hopkins University himself, watches as his former alma mater battles toward the Memorial Day championship game. This year, after a slow start, the JHU team came alive and weaved their way through the season. But first I must explain the season as it went.
Since Johns Hopkins is in Maryland and we live on the West coast we don't have access to the games on TV. Ever the avid fan, my husband found an ingenious way to get all the scoop. Each week, he would tune into an internet station to listen to the play by play action. It is addicting to listen to the announcer call out the movements, gains, goals and penalties.
As Johns Hopkins' season gained momentum, my husband had visions of another championship to match the one in the '05 season, for which he proudly dons his t-shirts. Now that the shirt is ready to be retired for wear, it's time the team won another championship game. Week after week we would listen as the team won or lost their game. My husband's 30 year college reunion gave him an opportunity to see a game first hand and another win.
Hopes were alive as the team played on through the season. Then, as other teams in the conference gained their wins and losses, Johns Hopkings University made it into the Championship playoffs. Through the driving rain, Hopkins pulled through game one. Next game, again Hopkins pulled through. Now down to the final four, Hopkins is set to play Delaware, a fairly new team on the final road to the championship, while Duke was faced with Cornell two well known teams with winning records.
All weekend the tension was high as we watched Hopkins run, score, and win their way into the championship game. They beat Delaware and were on their way to the last game. Duke and Cornell had a nail biter of a game when Cornell came from behind to tie the game in the last seconds. Then, by shooting a hail mary, Duke scored with 3 seconds left in the game to win the game and their chance at the Championship title.
Going into the game on Monday, Duke was favored to win in more ways than one. After a year of scorn and negative publicity when 3 teams members were accused of rape, Duke was coming back. The men had been falsely accused and the team was back with a vengence. They were out to win and they were in the position to do so. All the sports announcers had their bets on Duke.
The game began with Hopkins scoring in the first seconds. Everyone was surprised, especially my husband. JHU went on to score 6 goals, totally shutting out Duke until the 2nd quarter. At the half, Johns Hopkins was ahead. Not long after the 2nd half of the game began, Hopkins is in with another goal but that was to be the last as Duke came back, one after another, stealing away Hopkins' lead. As the game teetertottered, Hopkins was 1 goal away from the championship title when Duke scored to tie the game. Nail biting it was because overtime meant more play until the first team scored. With 3 minutes left in the game, Hopkins scored the tie breaking goal! Now to keep that lead would take a lot of team effort. The Hopkins goalie was playing the last game of his career and he had saved many attempts by Duke to score. Could he do it for 3 more minutes? Other teammates needed to keep the Duke big scoring players away from the goal but 3 minutes is an eternity in game play.
Last several seconds and Duke attempts a goal, SAVED! Again another another attempt......
SAVED! As the final seconds ticked down......Hopkins held on to the lead and went on to win the championship game.
Another National Championship title for Johns Hopkins University. Now I write this for two reasons. Of course we love lacrosse here but also because the newspapers and sports shows merely made mention about Hopkins and focused all the attention on Duke. It was as if Hopkins had done the worst thing possible by winning the game. Now I ask you, because Duke went through the horrific year they did was that the reason Hopkins didn't deserve to win. I didn't know a team should win out of sympathy. If that were the case , then Duke should have won without playing the game. Truly, Hopkins played the game just like Duke did and they both played a great game. The fact that Duke overcame many obstacles through the year in light of the accusations against the former players is a testament to true sportsmanship. However, does that mean that the Hopkins players are any less sportsman? Does it mean that Hopkins doesn't have players who would go above and beyond for their teammates and school?
I only want those who do the job to get what they deserve - recognition for achievements well done. So a big huge cheer for Johns Hopkins University's Lacrosse team of 2007! They deserve some recognition for winning as the underdog!