Friday, March 25th, 2005. On this day, a nine year old, Phillip P. Mays learned a very valuable lesson. He learned that sports will one control his entire life. It was one of those days that you realize that sports are bullshit, and no one should care that much about men dribbling a basketball. It was also one of those days that you realize there's no turning back, and that sports will forever be all I care about. I had felt heartbreak before. I remembered getting dusted by Kobe and Shaq in the 01 finals, and I remembered getting my heart ripped out by the cheating, fraudulent, 04 Pats. But there was something about this game that still keeps me up at night. It was the day that I realized no matter how bad it might hurt to lose, you can always blame the refs.
To be honest, this UNC team was unbelievable and a far more deserving final four team. This was the squad of Sean May, Raymond Felton, and Rashad McCants that went on to win the national title. I remember this was the team in NCAA March Madness 2005 that nobody was allowed to play with because they were just too good. However, this Nova squad wasn't a bunch of bums either. It was Kyle Lowry's freshman year. They had the 4 guard system with Lowry, Randy Foye, Allen Ray, Mike Nardi, and Curtis Sumpter as the forward. It was prototypical Villanova, shoot the lights out, basketball before it was cool, and the entire season was taken away from us in that travel.
I remember coming back from that ten point lead, hearing that whistle, thinking Ray got the foul and the bucket to tie the game, only to be blindsided by the WORST TRAVEL CALL IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL. Who the FUCK calls that a walk? It wasn't even close. It's one of those moments where you have to wonder what the FUCK was going on in that mans head. It was a day that you walk away from the TV and say "I am never watching sports again". What a horrible thing to say.
As I look back at this game, and remember my nine year old self, I want to take this moment to put my foot in the ground and say I will never declare that I am done watching sports. Everyone says it, we all lose huge games and have to turn on Wedding Crashers to try and get our mind off of it, but never again. Thank you Allen Ray for reminding me of this.
Also, if you know you remember the name Allen Ray but can't quite figure out why, you're probably thinking of the time he almost got his eye popped out of his socket.