Thursday, October 19, 2006

Randy's Most Memorable Sports Moments: #4

One of the greatest traditions in the Soper family is Thanksgiving and Christmas football games. For at least the last 15 years all the Sopers interested in football play a game of touch football no matter what the weather on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. The games range from 4 on 4 to as many as 9 on 9. We've played in the warm sunshine, in the rain and mud, in a blistering snow storm, in a foot of snow, and on a sheet of ice.

Over the years we've adopted standard core teams. Matt and Paul were always bitter rivals so they were on separate teams. My dad matched up with Joel and I matched up with Scott so for as long as I can remember, it has always been me, my dad, and Matt vs. Joel, Paul and Scott. The rest of the players have somewhat standard teams but the core 3 always stay the same.

For ever single one of those 15 years, Matt has NEVER lost a game to Paul. In all the games, Paul just cannot beat his nemesis and as Matt's teammate I've taken great pride in all those wins. However, about 5 years ago that streak was in serious jeopardy. It was Christmas Eve and we decided to play on the parking lot behind my grandparents house. The parking lot was covered with ice and it was freezing out, so basically everyone was bundled up and couldn't run or cut worth anything.

The game started slow as usual until the offenses finally started scoring. Paul's team was playing pretty well and had a huge mismatch between Maria (Paul's team) and Carissa (my team). Carissa couldn't keep up with Maria and Maria could catch pretty well and all of the sudden they were up 3-1 on 3 Maria touchdowns. We scored next to make it 3-2 in a game played to 5. The following drive Paul hit Scott on a deep fly route over my head for a dramatic touchdown to go up 4-2. As Scott crossed the goal line he proclaimed "THE STREAK IS OVER!!"

Our team was on the ropes and we knew we had to play better than ever to stay alive. Matt went into ultra concentration mode and took control at quarterback, calling all the plays and taking advantage of every mismatch. I knew our offense would be able to score with consistency but stopping Paul's team for 3-4 possessions in a row would be nearly impossible. We pushed the score to 4-3 and made a good defensive stand. Then they stopped us and on their ensuing possession they had a 4th and goal from close. Maria broke free and Paul's pass went right through her hands! On the next possession with the score tied 4-4 they had 3rd and 4th down from close to the end zone and both Maria AND Scott missed easy catches.

Finally, after having our backs to the walls Matt lead us down the field one last time for a score to win the game. I remember falling hard onto the ice a couple of times but the streak remained in tact and has never been threatened since.


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