Marolt: Amnesia and math: Ingredients in the recipe for success
Will technology never cease to amaze? Who knew the meat of one of the most exciting lacrosse games you could ever watch — and couldn’t script with the help of Agatha Christie, an online dictionary and Thesaurus.com — could be meaningfully conveyed cross-country through a string of 48 short texts:
“1-0, Aspen” “Woohoo! First goal!” “Ahh yay!” “1-1” “Yikes! That was quick.” “2-1 Aspen. 14 minutes left in 1st half.” “3-1” “Wow, this is exciting!” “3-2. 6:33 left in 1st.” “4-2” “4-3” “4-4” “Yikes!!” “5-4, Aspen” “Yes!” “Ahh, this is nerve wracking!” “5-4 halftime.” “Phew!” “Wowza! Keep keeping us posted!”
“5-5” “Yikes.” “5-6 them.” “Shoot!” “6-6” “This is a nail biter!” “6-7 them.” “6-8” “Ouch!” “7-8” “7-9, 3 mins left!” “8-9” “:I :I :I” “9-9 two minutes!” “Ahhhhh!!!!” “omg OMG” “10-9 us! One minute!” “Ahh come on defense!” “10-10” “:0 :0 :0” “Steal pass run pass shot goal!!!!!! 11-10 us!!!” “Ahhhh! Time left?” “3 seconds!!!” “You’ve got to be kidding!” “We WIN!!!!” “Oh my gosh!!!!! I’m crying!!!!!” “OMG this is so exciting!!!” “Unbelievable!! We’re all crying here too!!”
OK, now stop celebrating, put your phones away and pay attention. You got the meat from these texts but not the gravy. To understand just how great this game was, I have to whisk a little flour into the drippings.
This was the first time a girls lacrosse team from the Western Slope of Colorado has ever won a state playoff game. There’s only one division for girls lacrosse here, and the postseason has little room for anyone but the big-dog 4A and 5A schools — think Cherry Creek and its student-body talent pool of 5,000 kids.
Another thing that’s just too tiring to text and would likely be auto-corrected into something unintelligible anyway is that the team the Aspen girls beat, Pine Creek High School from Colorado Springs, walloped us 16-3 in a game just over a month ago. It’s not easy to follow the Yellow Brick Road back from a twister like that and find the courage, wisdom and heart to face that wicked witch again, but our girls did.
What really made this game incredible, though, was the end of a process that occurred over the course of the season that began with a 6-18 drubbing at the hands of Grand Junction High School that ended with the Tigers laughing and shooting behind their backs. At that point Aspen had 12 girls on the field who added up to zero offense, zero defense and zero chance of winning.
Credit amnesia. The Aspen girls forgot that game. They forgot about the stat book. They forgot about being upperclassmen or lowerclassmen. They forgot about being starters or role players. They forgot about playing only their favorite positions. They forgot about excuses not to do wind sprints after practice. They forgot one another’s names on the field and began looking for whichever red-and-white jersey was most wide open. It seemed the only thing they cared to remember was that they were a team. The whole became bigger than the parts.
The final three minutes of the last home game provided proof to any nonbeliever. We were down by two, and the dying Maroon Creek winds seemed to leave our league championship banner drooping. We had scored a goal about every five minutes until then, and now we needed one in each short minute left.
One of our star players pretty much took it upon herself to pot three goals in the next two minutes. She hadn’t suddenly become a ball hog; she had recognized the opportunity to kick some butt and light a fire.
Aspen had the lead with less than a minute to go. Pine Creek came right back to tie it and then won the ensuing draw and moved into Aspen territory with 30 seconds to play. They made a mistake with time running out and put the ball right back in the stick of the girl who had so quickly scored the previous three Aspen goals.
What happened next was a quick pass to an Aspen defender who suddenly had to be offensive. She raced 60 yards down the field through rush-second traffic. She passed it with three seconds left to an attacker in front of the net who was instantly clobbered. She was awarded a penalty shot and made the back of the net scream toward Independence Pass.
A lot of things had to be perfect on that play. The odds for success were low. But what the Aspen girls learned on the incredible journey of this season is that those odds were still much better than one girl rescuing their history by themselves.
Roger Marolt had tears of joy for Aspen in his right eye and tears of sorrow in his left for Pine Creek. It was that good a game! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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