It's more than a game.
There are 2,160 seconds in a high school basketball game.
Nearly 2,157 of those seconds were merely just a basketball game Friday night at Bresnan Arena. The final 2.9 seconds were much more than that.
Those precious seconds will go down as some of the most memorable moments of my sports writing career.
With just 2.9 seconds left to play in the Section 2A championship game, head coach Ryan Hulke, to my confusion, called a timeout.
I was thoroughly confused as to why Hulke would want to call a timeout here knowing the game was all but over, and their ticket to the state tournament was punched.
Sitting front and center at the press table next to scoreboard workers, I was in shock and awe of what I saw next.
Sophomore Madi Heiderscheidt, who tore her ACL back on Jan. 8 against Springfield, was checking into the game.
Heiderscheidt was the team’s leading scorer before going down with her injury and one of the most talented players I have seen play this season.
Heiderscheidt checked into the game with just seconds remaining, received the inbounds pass, only to be greeted with hugs by her teammates as the buzzer sounded and the Indians were once again state bound.
It wasn’t much. Just a few seconds and simple inbounds pass. Yet it was so much more.
One of the best things about my job is that I get to see talented athletes from all over. One of the worst things to see is one of those talented athletes getting hurt.
I’ve seen a lot of great sports moments in my short career as a sports writer, but I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I’m sure it will be a long time before I do again.
It was very hard to see Madi go down that game against Springfield as I was there covering it, but it was something that I will never forget.
I’m so thankful that I was there to be able to watch her when she hobbled out onto the court to finish the game off for the Indians and send them to state.
To see how much that moment meant to her, her teammates and the fans, is just a true reminder of why we play the game, and why it’s more than a game.
I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf, but there definitely wasn’t a dry eye for me in that special moment.
I can relate to Madi somewhat on how that moment felt. My senior year, I sprained my ankle right before my senior night game and was only able to play for just a few seconds like Madi was. That was just one game I missed. Madi has had to sit out the entire season. She had to sit watching on the bench knowing she could be helping her team since her injury, so I couldn’t even imagine what that moment meant to her, even though it was only a few seconds.
I still get chills and emotional when watching the video I took of that moment. It was a perfect ending to a record-setting and great season for the Sleepy Eye Indians.
I hope everyone there who was able to witness that or watched the video, realizes how great of a moment that truly was, and realizes once again, that it’s more than a game.