LIFESTYLE | SPORTS

The second that broke a thousand hearts

Michelle Baltazar

The worst thing about the Sydney Kings’ loss against the Perth Wildcats tonight (January 20) was that victory was oh-so-close. With less than a second to go, when the score was 75 – 76, there was a chance.

Ardent fans stood up, willing him, sending good vibes his way, the roar was deafening but even as the ball left his hands, there was this sinking feeling that it won’t make the hoop.

Then the ball was passed back to him again. But even then it felt like he’s already given up. The final throw – the throw that could have restored my faith in the Kings – was again,  a lacklustre shot – doomed to fail before it even reached halfway of the distance to the basket.

And so it was that I spent another Friday night feeling down. Another night that I watched a Sydney Kings game where they failed to deliver. There was that 10-point lead on the first half of the final quarter and I keep telling them in my mind, “Please don’t mess this up. Pass the time. Don’t mess this UP.”

But just like other games I’ve watched in the past where the Kings consistently played well and kept their lead up until the very last moment – the same feeling crept in. That they would lose the lead. And the self-fulfilling prophecy was so painful I even wanted to leave. Walk Out. Get out of there with only 39 seconds left on the clock.

Begrudgingly I congratulated the family behind me. The patriarch, the dad, was beaming. His son plays for the Wildcats. The same man on the court who turned around and waved to him with the winning smile on his face.

So as the crowds started to thin, and many walked towards the park where the first day celebrations ahead of the Chinese New Year was happening. I momentarily forgot my disappointment. The park was full of red Chinese lanterns, smiling faces, couples kissing. The stage was filled with dancers swaying to a pop asia hitsong titled ‘Trouble Maker’ and everyone was having a great time either lounging around or lining up for late night snacks at one of the many Dim Sum Stations that lined the pathways.

Yes, 2012 heralds the Year of the Dragon. But for many Kings fans, the question was when, oh when, will it be the Year of the Lion.

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