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Student Gazette

Overtime tests mind, body
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reece Jackson is a junior at Schenectady High School

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Overtime is a war far beyond regulation in the basketball world. To think from going from a tiring 40-minute game to a 70-minute game, that is far more deserving than just using a synonym of tiring to describe it.

Just imagine running back and forth for 70 minutes while trying to stop not only your man from scoring but the opponent as well.

This was the situation just yesterday in the Syracuse/Connecticut game. To be glued to your television in a high tension fast-paced semifinal game of one of the biggest basketball conferences in the world.

The game itself tipped off at 9:36 p.m. and the clock didn’t completely finish ticking until 1:22 a.m. A game like this would go down as one of he greatest games in the history of basketball. To play six overtimes, takes more than extreme conditioning.

One thing was on the mind of Syracuse’s starting guard Jonny Flynn as the game rolled around into the 3rd overtime: “When is this game going to end? Whoever wins, wins.” But his heart and will to win kept him and his team in the game for three more overtimes before they pulled away on a 17-7 6th overtime run to win the game.

So, imagine playing 67 minutes of 70 minutes of that high tension basketball game and, scoring 34 of Syracuse’s 127 points and dishing out 11 assists. How could someone last that long?

Being a basketball player myself, I can relate to this game, somewhat. The most overtimes I’ve played in were two, and by then it was hard to remember what overtime I was in as my mind just went completely blank from exhaustion. I scored 30 points and didn’t even feel like I wasted a breath.

I recall I was running off fumes near the end of regulation and it was the most fun thing I’ve experienced on the court.

By the first end of the first overtime I lost all of the fumes that I was running off of and was completely tired. Every single step I took hurt not only my body physically but mentally. The will to keep going is actually what kept me going.

And when my teammate hit the jump shot to tie the game with no time left in the overtime I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins. I felt completely regenerated and scored 11 of my 30 points in that second overtime to push my team over the hump and we won 101-103.

I don’t even remember thinking while I had that adrenaline boost; it just felt like a dream until we shook hands with the other team after the game. That’s when I realized that I just played 42 minutes straight and I wasn’t even tired.

I know that’s how Johnny Flynn felt after the longest game of his career. Once your body hits that physical wall during a game, it’s up to your mind and heart to climb over that wall and bring your body with it.

The passion for greatness and to succeed is what kept him going for those 67 minutes. To outwork five players on the other team for that one loose ball, the and one you get near the end of the game and mustering up enough strength to make the free throw to give your team the lead, that’s what overtime games are all about. They separate the players who would give their two front teeth to play the game from the ordinary basketball players who just love the game.

To make it through the battlefield and saving four of your own soldiers while doing so, to be able to raise your flag for victory is well worth the struggle. To think what you can overcome if your heart and mind are willing to do the work. I guess saying is true, overtime kills.



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