As the season has come to an end, our memories of the season are at an all-time high. We will remember many aspects of what we saw, but none more that when 0.9 seconds were left on the clock in Game 6 against the Houston Rockets. This is what will live on tomorrow as our heads are hung low tonight.
Where were you when that shot fell? This is the question we will ask our friends, family, coworkers, and even those that we do not know or those that we do not like. This is what will unite us as a city through a long summer of a draft, focusing on other sports, and hopefully some trades or signings to help this team. Where were you when that shot fell?
I was kneeling on my living room floor, dressed appropriately in basketball shorts and a Lillard jersey, my hands were placed together with my fingers interlocked and sweat causing a suction in between my palms. I was surrounded by my wife on the couch behind me, my father-in-law sitting in a chair to my right, and a family friend sitting on our loveseat to my left. Both of my children were sound asleep in their bedrooms and my dog was on the floor attempting to lick my face. If I did not look around before the commercial ended after the Parsons layup, I would not have known there was anything there. Time had stopped and my heart was the only thing I could hear.
The players walked onto the court with a swagger that I could not comprehend. How could they be so calm? They were about to run a single play, one with very limited probability of working, with a chance to move on in the playoffs. If they did have any nerves, they were not showing it. Myself, on the other hand, I was showing every bit of nerves that my body could handle. My muscles were tense, my eyes were opened as wide as I could like I just walked through a terrifying haunted house, and my breathing had been stopped for what seemed like ten minutes.
In a blink of an eye, Lillard cut around some screens and looked straight at Batum. Batum was glancing towards Aldridge, his first choice on the play, and did not see Lillard. With my television at a minimal level of volume, I could still hear Lillard clap. If I close my eyes right now and think about the play, I can still hear the clap of the hands. This signal caught Batum's attention and he looked at Lillard. With a trailing Parsons following him, Batum shot a perfect pass to Lillard who turn and hoisted the ball up in the air. The world stopped turning.
There were so many sensations at the moment that the ball left his hand. A gun shot from outside, a woman screaming for help, sirens, someone yelling fire, my wife calling my name, none of it would have phased me. I was locked into the game with a sense of love for a team that no other compares to. This team that I grew up with, teaching me about the game that I love, having a chance to do something they had done before but this time felt extra special. I was more invested in this game than any other that I can remember.
The shot sailed through the air, catching the eyes of millions watching, and fell through the net without even grazing the rim. From the depths of my belly and soul, I let out a scream that would have set off all of the car alarms in the neighborhood if the windows were open. My arms instantly raised high into the air with as much force as a bullet and I jumped up from the floor. In an instant, a quiet, unsuspecting house turned into a scene of screaming, tears in eyes, and pure happiness. This is what it felt like on top of the world.
As I jumped up, so did my father-in-law but not from the game, but from the fear of my screaming. My wife and him had been talking during the play, expecting a Blazers loss, so they did not see the play unfold. When he jumped up, his natural response was to confront me for scaring him. Without a care in the world, I swung my arms around him and hugged him tight. In the four years that I have known him, I had never given him a hug before. This night was different than all of the other ones. This night was special.
I have watched many, many videos of that shot and even more videos of the fan reactions to this shot. All around the world, people reacted the exact same as me. Most of them are not as huge of Blazers fans as I claim to be, some not even Blazer fans at all, but they shared in this moment. Special is a word that is used too often in the world when mediocre things happen, but this shot was special n the very essence of the word.
As the season has ended and we were routed by a Spurs team, think back on this season. Think about the start that we had. We came out blazing and shocked the world, climbing to number 1 in many power rankings. Think about the stumble we had in the mid-season where we started to get counted out. Think about the All-Star game and all of the events that Lillard participated in and then when two of our players made the game. Think about the finish to the season where Aldridge came back from injury and this team won 9 out of 10 games. Think about making the playoffs and then advancing tot he second round. Most of all, think about that shot.
As the summer goes along and we venture away from basketball and more into baseball, football, and whatever else sports you follow, our vacations take hold, we get more sunburns and lighter hair, and we eat way too much barbecue, don't forget about the Spring that unfolded and find anyone who will talk and ask them a question: Where were you when that shot fell?
Until next season,