We live in a sports world where terms like heart and effort have been thrown around so much that they have become an overused term, bestowed on anyone who shows even a slightly above-average love of the game.
This weekend though, we saw an effort from the Syracuse Orange and their indomitable point guard Jonny Flynn that was truly deserving of the accolades they received.
The Orange played four games in four days, but also played seven overtimes alongside those games. They were one overtime away from having played an entire extra game.
Flynn played 181 of the possible 195 minutes for his team, and he was nothing short of brilliant. He set a new record for assists in the Big East tournament breaking the record of some guy named Mark Jackson.
Flynn stands no taller than six feet, and he weighs no more than 185 pounds. Yet, this weekend he embodied everything that makes us love sports.
I will admit recently I have been disenchanted with the sports world. The countless scandals, financial issues, and greed that surround the industry have been wearing on me.
I thank the Orange and Flynn for reminding me why I love sports, and why March might be the most special month of them all.
The Orange didn't lead in overtime in their six OT epic against Connecticut until the final overtime.
No one would have blamed them had they come out against West Virginia and gotten steamrolled.
If they had finally folded in their overtime against the Mountaineers everyone would have applauded that they had kept it competitive for that long. However, the Orange found a way to prevail.
They dug deep into their tanks all the way until halftime against Louisville when they had the Cardinals down by eight points. However, in the second half, the regular season Big East champions and their brilliant pressure defense wore down the wilting Orange.
As Jonny Flynn walked to the bench with about a minute to go, he did so to a standing ovation and his head down with his face in his jersey.
What he didn't realize or maybe he just didn't care, was that he had nothing to hang his head about. His fearless effort and the effort that his team displayed reminded us all what sports is really about.
Flynn ended up being named MVP of the tournament, and is only the fourth player to receive that honor from a losing team.
He said he would trade it for a Big East championship in a heartbeat, and while that may be true, Flynn has nothing to be ashamed of. He earned that trophy, and he earned the right to truly say that he and his team showed heart.
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