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It Was Grace, Coach; No, Not That Grace

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 20, 2008

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Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year

During the time I spent in southeast Missouri during Thanksgiving break, I went on one of the many celebrity TNB fans’ Facebook profile and begged for some divine intervention for the Missouri Tigers when they faced the Kansas Jayhawks in one of the biggest games in the history of Mizzou football.

“Please give Mizzou,” I wrote, “grace tonight against Kansas.”

And while Mizzou jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Jayhawks, only to see it slip away, the grace I begged for on Facebook showed up and led Mizzou to one of the biggest wins in their football history and a #1 ranking for the first time in 47 years.

Two months later and hundreds of miles from Kansas City, grace showed up in probably one of the most unorthodox jumpers this side of Ronnie Brewer and former Saint Louis University standout Scott Highmark as Derrick Boykin hit the game-winner in yesterday’s game at Streets to give Crichton the 83-81 victory over a stubborn Lyon College squad.

If you let myself and Colonel Sanders tell it, divine intervention didn’t come at the time when Boykin hit that game-winning shot.

It was prior to the game that divine intervention was asked for, not for a shot, but for a busted scoreboard.

An hour before the game, Colonel Sanders, Coach Dee, myself, and the building engineer at the arena spent 20 minutes figuring out what was wrong with the scoreboard.

“Did it work on Wednesday when you guys had practice?” I asked Coach Wilkes.

“No,” he replied.

According to the label that read loud and clear on the controller, the only way that both scoreboards could work was if both of the antennas on the scoreboards were up.

When we found out that the scoreboard on the west end of the building was up, but still no signal from the controller, we figured out the next best thing.

“Lord,” Colonel Sanders said, “give us your grace and mercy.”

“We need your grace, seriously,” I said.

Five minutes after we made our petitions to the Lord about our scoreboard problems, Colonel Sanders grabbed a screwdriver, took the ladder that I use to run up to the television area, and went inside the board to fix it.

“It works,” I said to Colonel Sanders.

“Here’s a title for tomorrow’s column ‘Comets Bust The Clock’,” he said to me.

“What about a column mentioning divine intervention?” I asked.

“Maybe,” he said.

Back to what happened during the game, the game was tied at 81 with a shade over 10 seconds left to play on the game clock, Crichton got a break when Lyon had some mental lapse of some kind to turn the ball over, giving Crichton a chance to win the game.

As the “Living Legend” Sapp got the ball from the ref to throw the ball inbounds, I said something to “D-Ball”.

“You know what to do,” I said, realizing that I told a guy who only a few days ago farted up a storm on the way back from Pulaski, Tennessee, resulting in the “Basketball Brotherhood” to call in the National Guard because of the smell.

And with 2 seconds left in the game, grace, this time in the form of an unorthodox shot, joined Bill Mazeroki’s home run in the 1960 World Series, Ozzie Smith’s home run in 1985, Kirk Gibson’s home run in 1988, and the Illini’s comeback in the 2005 Chicago Regional as Boykin’s shot went through the hoop and sealed the win for Crichton.

When Sapp threw the ball inbounds to Boykin, everyone in the back of their minds didn’t think that he would make the game-winning shot.

Normally, that role would go to someone like Slim Wimbush or Mario Chaffin.

But if there’s one thing that many of us yesterday afternoon learned about having faith and a little grace, it’s this.

It doesn’t matter how ugly the shot is.

All it matters is if it goes in.

And for Crichton, it did.

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