Where the Box Score Fails

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

It’s weird. How it works. How some games mean more than others. How while you’re watching a game, it begins to take on added significance, like it’s worth more than one win, or it will hurt more than one loss would hurt. Sure, the season is 82 games long (66 this year), but that number, 82, makes it sound like they’re all equal. Like a season is comprised of 82 games, 48 minutes each, and the record is nothing but a compilation of how many of those 66 games ended when your favorite team had more points. All numbers. The games, the minutes, then the seconds, and finally the points. The points on the scoreboard that decide whether your team gets one more in the win column, or one more in the other. They’re all equal. Every game is just a game. Right?

Here’s the great secret: they’re not equal. Some games do mean more than others. Sometimes 6-4 and 7-3 are more than one game apart. This one felt like if the Jazz had won, if Gordon had taken the shot instead of dishing it to Big Al, then somehow, the Jazz would be more than 7-3. The Jazz would be legitimate. Respected. Someone, some talking head on Sportscenter or some writer on ESPN, would acknowledge that this team was for real. Of course I still believe that this Jazz team can accomplish great things. Make the playoffs. Shock the NBA world. But I really, really, wanted some non-Jazz fan to recognize this, and after Millsap’s steal and dunk in the first play of overtime, I finally allowed myself to hope for it. Then we were up four points, and I was almost expecting it. Yes, I thought, I’m going to get on Twitter, as soon as this game is over, and I’m going to find someone dishing out some serious pro-Jazz love. I thought I was going to read some tweets praising Josh Howard’s clutch gene, Paul Millsap’s heart of a lion, and Raja Bell’s fourth quarter defense on Kobe. I thought I was going to read a tweet from Ric Bucher or JA Adande that said something like “Jazz find a way to beat Lakers despite 38 from Kobe.” Then Pau hit the three, Bynum stuffed Jefferson and Kobe’s 38 was suddenly 40, and it had all slipped away. The game that over the course of 53 minutes of basketball had come to mean so much more than 53 minutes of basketball had ended. With a loss. A loss that felt like 10 losses. A loss that hurt. A loss that meant more than just one game.

I can see someone reading the newspaper, or checking the box score this morning, and with some disappointment seeing that the Jazz lost. Maybe they’ll brush it off because it’s the Lakers or because it’s a young team, and maybe they’ll think to themselves, hey, at least we’re still 6-4. They’ll be right of course. We are still 6-4. But for me and for every Jazz fan that watched that game, we’ll know better. We’ll know better because just like the win against Miami last year, this one felt like it was worth something more. 6-4 is not just 6-4.

    • Gerrit Gardner
    • January 12th, 2012

    Yeah that was a heart crusher. After the Lakers’ win against the Suns Tuesday night, I really wanted the Jazz to take it to them. The Lakers are a very beatable team if you can control Kobe (in other words not let him score 50 points on you). I’m stoked for when Utah and Phoenix play, though.

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