Last Thursday, the Homeboy basketball team registered one of the greatest comeback wins in Los Angeles Recreational Baskeball history. After trailing by 25, the team appeared frustrated, angry and upset that they had fallen that behind. Couple of my coworkers were on hand to cheer the team. During halftime, one guy with a USC t-shirt walks by and on the back of his t-shirt it said, “Witness The Comeback.” I then looked at one of my coworkers and told him to read the back of the shirt. I then said, “make sure you stay to ‘Witness The Comeback!'” My coworker gave me a smile like saying, yeah right. I then walk up to a young couple on the stands who had a 6 month old boy and I tell the young father, “you are about to see one of the greatest comebacks ever! Make sure you stay and check it out so you can tell you boy, what an amazing game it was!” He also gave me the look like I was crazy. I then walk up to the players on the Homeboy basketball team and tell them to pretend that they are down by 4 and just play the game. I emphasize that the most important thing is that they play hard and have fun.
As the second half began, the Homeboy team look solid but the other team kept making baskets. They were showing off for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half as they maintained their 25 point lead. When I picked up that they were “toying” around with the Homeboy team, I yelled in Spanish from the stands, “por presumidos van a perder (for showing off you are going to lose).”
Then all of sudden, the comeback begins. Little by little the Homeboy team starts narrowing their lead from 25 to 21 to 19 to 16 to 13 to 11. They are down by 11 points with about 5 minutes left in the game. At this point, I am raising my voice in excitement, “Homeboy Basketball, here we go!,” “the pressure is on them.” The team starts to play better defense and causes couple turnovers to trim the lead to 7 with about 3 minutes left. I am going nuts! I start yelling my lungs out! I am sensing that the Homeboy team can pull it off. With about 1:50 left in the game, the lead has been trim to 5 points. One of the players from Homeboys makes a layup to cut the lead to 3 with one minute approaching. Then a quick turnover gives the Homeboys the ball and with a one minute left in the game, one of the players sets himself from behind the arc and nails a 3 pointer to tie the game!
At this point, I jump off the stands and into the court and start doing a mini victory dance! I am going crazy! I try to contain myself but I can’t believe what I am seeing!
The other team gets the ball with 55 secs left and they dribble the ball to the other side of the court. I am yelling at the players to guard the 3 point line and to stick to their player. One of the guys from the other team, pulls and tries to nail a 25 foot jumper but the ball bounces off the rim. The Homeboy team recovers the rebound and as the time is ticking, one of the players gets fouled with about 10 seconds left. I am nervous! I am still in shock at what I am witnessing! The player makes both of the baskets to pull the Homeboy team ahead 73-71 with 10 seconds left. The other team has one last try to no avail. When the game ended, I got so excited that my coworkers have never seen me get so crazy! I went up to my coworker and told him, “I told you, Witness The Comeback!” I went to the players and congratulated them for an amazing game! I was speechless at the end of the game. I literally yelled my lungs out at the game.
The next day at our morning meeting, I told one of the players that after he announces to the whole staff about last night’s game, that I was going to add “a little bit more flavor to the story.” So my coworker makes the announcement that the basketball team came from a huge deficit to win the game. Then I ask to add a little bit more to the story and more or less this is what I said, “last night was an amazing game. The people in the community when they found out that the Homeboy Basketball team was making a comeback, they started to jam the gym. And when they won, everyone in the stands was going crazy! I had to do some research and I found that not only was it the biggest comeback win in the leagues’ history but I went way back and realized it was the biggest comeback win in Homeboys Basketball history. The game was so amazing that there is an article on the (LA TIMES) Sports page (I am holding the Sports page for everyone to see) on C7.” When I mentioned that there is an article on the Sports page, everyone believed me, that I quickly had to say I was joking around. Everyone then starts bursting into laughter. At the end, people came up to me telling me how they believed me and that they were going to make plans on getting the LA TIMES. One of the players comes up to me and says, “That was a good one! I even believed you when you said we came out on the Sports page.” LOL.
The game was just an amazing game. The way they came back to win was incredible. This is not the first time that I have had faith on a team who seemed to have the game lost only for them to win in dramatic fashion.
In fact, I have had several occassions when I have maintain Hope on my softball team after being down by several runs only for our team to find a way and win. One of those games was our Softball Championship game last year. Here is the link for those who are interested in reading the article: