Anyone who has ever played a sport, even at the lowest of levels, knows how intense the competition can feel on the field. And if you thought playing for your high school soccer team that went 2-14 most years was stressful, imagine how real athletes feel.
Please don't get too bent out of shape over the soccer remark. In case it wasn't obvious, I was actually drawing from my own experience in which that terrible scenario played out over four dreadful years in Western Pennsylvania back in the late '90s.
The point being is that competitive sports are intense. Adrenaline is always running high. Everyone wants to be the hero, score the points and win the game. The desire to win can be so great that it has the power to completely cloud the mind.
Most people like to believe that when the heat is on, they'll be able to keep calm and always make the right decision and the right play. Unfortunately, staying cool under pressure is easier said than done. And things are more likely to go very wrong than very right. That's just life!
Heroes almost always go the right way, but most of us can relate more to those going the wrong way. Here are 20 athletes who are definitely going the wrong way.
Usually when an NBA player scores in his own basket, it's because he's going up for a rebound and either mishandles the ball or gets confused and tips it in.
Either way though, it's usually the result of contact right up on the net.
That was not the case when the Nets' Vince Carter scored a deuce for the Heat back in 2007.
The video in this clip isn't the best quality, but the befuddled announcers make it quite clear that the score was a result of a very unfortunate deflection of Carter.
Carter could only scratch his head and smile sheepishly after the unlikely basket put the Heat up by three. He kept his composure. The announcers did not.
I'm not going to be too hard on this Oregon player for intercepting the ball within the five-yard-line because that's what he's supposed to do.
That's not to say he made the best possible play for the Ducks, though. In a 2010 game against Houston, the Cougars quarterback Kevin Kolb was lined up around midfield and facing a 4th-and-15.
Naturally, he chucks it downfield without a Houston player in sight. Such is Kevin Kolb. If the Ducks' defender had just let the ball drop, they would have taken over on downs three yards short of the 50-yard-line.
Which is obviously a much shorter distance to travel for a touchdown than the 95 yards, as a result of his play. But again—he did make a play. Which is more than we can say for Kolb.
The Capitals have had their share of troubles with the Penguins over the last two decades, which had to make it all the more crushing for Nicklas Backstrom when he momentarily lost his bearings in 2008 and shot the puck past his own goalkeeper.
The goalie was understandably exasperated and just laid face down on the ice in disbelief for a few seconds following the goal. Backstrom is talented young star, but you'd have to imagine this rookie mistake stuck with him for quite a while.
In a game against the Bulls in 2010, the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace must have been feeling the pressure in the fourth quarter.
Boston was only down three and there was still about 10 minutes left in the game, but that's the only explanation for what went down on the court.
After one of the Bulls missed on a three, Wallace went up to grab the rebound, but instead of turning it the other way, he just put it in his own net.
Who knows what was going through his head at the time, but you'd have to imagine in the immediate aftermath that "FML" was probably dominating his thoughts.
If this isn't indicative of everything that the Raiders have been for the last decade, I don't know what is.
In December 2012, Oakland wide receiver Denarius Moore came down with a Carson Palmer pass about four yards short of the first down.
Because he didn't seem to be touched by the Vikings players, Moore jumps up and attempts to get that extra yardage.
But he must have got turned around in his head on the catch because he starts running the wrong way before a Minnesota player inexplicably tackles him. Suppose they both got a little turned around on the play.
The mistake didn't result in anything catastrophic, but it was so very Raiders. One step forward, three steps back.
An overtime game always has a sense of urgency, particularly when it's a sudden-death OT game during the NHL playoffs.
Everyone wants to score the goal and be the hero, and no one wants to be the goat who gives up the goal and costs his team a critical win.
Which put Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle in the very interesting position of being both those guys in a game against the Avalanche in 2010.
It wasn't even a full minute into the OT period when Boyle misdirected the puck in his own end and it somehow found its way past the goalie and into the net.
So he was the hero—for Colorado. A fact that surely didn't give him any solace.
Scoring on your own goal could be one of the biggest bummers in sports—there are few things worse for an athlete on an individual level. But there are definitely different shades of terrible here.
An accidental misdirection or deflection that ends up in the net—that sucks. Completely misjudging pretty much everything on the field and booting a goal into your net from 30 feet out—that really sucks.
That's what happened to Croatian player Gora Rubil a few years ago. Instead of kicking the ball to a fullback to alleviate traffic in front of his own net, he booted a rocket of a shot right past his own goalkeeper. That's gotta sting.
Scoring in your own net/basket is always a miserable experience, but it's often compounded by poor play that follows the mistake.
Costing your team a couple of points in a basketball game isn't really that big a deal. It only becomes a big deal if you wallow in your failure and embarrassment, costing even more points.
Rockets big man Omer Asik absolutely botched a rebound and scored a basket for the Raptors during a game in November 2012.
But he didn't let it get him down. Instead he he got back on track, headed down the court, and scored a two-handed slam off a pass from James Harden a minute later.
Thereby negating the initial mistake. So technically, it's like it didn't even happen. (Depending on how you define "technically")
Pee Wee football is well known to be a chaotic free-for-all. Football is relatively complicated as far as sports go—heck, there are plenty of adults that can't follow the action.
But there are the kind of goofy mistakes you expect from little kids…and then there's this clip. Initially things go as planned as the quarterback (which is a generous term) hands the ball off to his running back, which is likely the only play they know.
Then things take a turn for the confusing. Instead of running toward the end zone…or anywhere…the running back just runs in wide circles around both for no reason whatsoever.
Then he gets bored, throws the ball on the ground, and the other team scores. Awesome.
In this clip from 2011, there are dozens of cyclists speeding through a sweeping turn in a race before beginning an ascent up a hill.
All pretty standard stuff for a bike race until just over 10 seconds into the video when, out of nowhere, a cyclist comes flying downhill in the opposite direction.
The guy who uploaded the video reacts in shocked disbelief, blurted out "What are you, stupid?!" If I had to venture a guess? I'd say yes…yes, he is.
Watching this clip of former Laker Luke Walton score on his own basket back in 2007, you can't help but wonder what was going through Kobe Bryant's head when it happened.
As if having the Rockets gleefully celebrate his mistake on the bench and give him a round of applause as he heads back down court wasn't bad enough.
Walton was probably more concerned about how the Black Mamba was going to react to it after the game. Maybe he'd freak out and publicly call him out to the media.
Or maybe he'd pull the old "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed" line on him.
Either way, you know it was brutal.
Hockey players probably dream about getting a big juicy rebound right in front of an open net, with the goalie frozen on the other side.
It's not the most impressive of goals, but there's something satisfying about being in the right place at the right time and capitalizing on the other team's mistake.
So when the Japanese player in this clip found himself in front of an open net with a rebound landing right on his stick, he couldn't fight his primal instinct to flip it into the net.
The fact that it was his own net is almost forgivable—he was obviously out of sorts and acting on instinct. But the celebration afterward?
His teammates (not to mention the opposing players) will be telling that story for the rest of their lives.
It's tough to tell exactly where things went wrong for the high school football running back in this clip.
He's definitely traveling the right direction when he fields an overzealous shovel pass from the quarterback. But then he bobbles the pass a little bit and gets turned completely around and starts heading for his own end zone.
Who knows if he was accidentally going the wrong way or just completely lost his marbles in trying lose the defenders. But he definitely realizes things have gone awry by the end of the play because he chucks the ball straight up in the air, rather than running it into the end zone.
So instead of the play resulting in a safety, it was recovered by the opposing team and resulted in a touchdown. Not sure anything else could have gone wrong on that play. Maybe if someone threw up.
Anyone who runs a marathon should be commended. They are crazy, obviously.
But the kind of training and motivation that it requires to finish a marathon—let alone win one—is something most of us couldn't even imagine. Which is why you have to feel for the runner in this clip!
There aren't any details provided, but it looks to be a four-man horse race for the win as they approach the finish line.
Then at the last minute, the runner in the lead follows a vehicle and hangs a right. It doesn't take him but a few seconds to realize his mistake, but it was just enough time to put him in third place.
The poor guy collapses in devastation. Who can blame him?
It's not often you're going to find anyone above the age of 10 running the bases backwards, but it's hilariously common in little league baseball.
It takes little kids a few years to adjust to all the rules and sometimes there are some hiccups along the way. But usually that stuff works itself out well before the high school years and beyond.
In this clip from 2010 a player, who looks to be a teenager, hits an impressive grand-slam homer and takes off like a bat out of hell…for…third…base!
Then for some reason, all the other players just change direction and follow his lead. Suppose they felt they owed that dude for the home run?
Retired footballer Chris Brass's goal against Darlington in 2007 could explain why he only played one year for Bury. Actually—that was worded poorly. Brass played for Bury, but he scored for Darlington.
Perhaps he was feeling the heat with opposing forces swarming his net. Or maybe it was just a very poorly executed kick. But when he attempted to kick the ball out of his end and instead hit his own face, it was probably a combination of the two.
The ball bounced off Brass' face with such force that it deflected back at his own goalkeeper and sailed into the net. Something tells me that is the only play Bury fans remember from Brass' tenure with the team.
In August 2012, Kent State linebacker Andre Parker proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he plays defense for a good reason. To be fair, a punting situation is probably one of the most stressful "routine" events that happens in a football game.
There are so many opportunities to screw up for the receiving team—but usually the punting team can keep it together. Parker bucked that trend, though, when he recovered a muffed punt by Towson and hauled ass 58 yards for the return.
Not a bad run for a linebacker! If only he had taken the much shorter route into the closer end zone, he would have had a touchdown. Instead he took the scenic route, which ended 58 yards further away from a TD than if he had just fallen on the ball.
Always. Fall. On. A. Fumble (or a muffed punt)! Always!
The one thing about basketball is that points aren't too hard to come by. That's not to say that they're easy to score, but they certainly come cheaper than scores in other sports.
So the one saving grace to scoring on your own net in basketball is that two points can usually be overcome and won't often cost your team the game.
That is unless your team is up by two with time expiring and you score in the wrong net, sending the game into overtime. That's what happens to the poor high school kid in this clip.
Only to make matters worse, his team would go on to lose in OT. That kind of drama wouldn't even be believable in the movies, yet here it is in real life.
In football, you don't want to get cute with fumbles or muffed punts. The more drama, the more likely something bad happens. In hockey, you don't want to get cute with an empty net. There's no need to go for style points when shooting at an empty net.
Well, that's pretty much what a Stars player did in the final seconds of a game against the Oilers in 2011. But instead of going for style points, he took the situation for granted, stalled a little to kill time and completely missed the mark.
Once he missed the goal, he tried to recover, but ended up flat on his back with an Edmonton player soaring toward the Dallas goal now two men up. Because fate wouldn't have it any other way, he scored and sent the game into overtime.
Can't imagine he'll ever take an open net for granted again.
Poor Jim Marshall. He had an excellent career with the Vikings that spanned nearly two decades, but the retired defensive end is best remembered for a single play he made in a game against the 49ers in 1964.
Minnesota forced a San Francisco fumble and Marshall found himself in prime position to recover the ball and maybe even make a run. Unfortunately, his legs got ahead of his brain and after recovering the football, he started running and chose the path of least resistance.
As he coasted into the end zone without another player in sight, Marshall kept looking back as if he couldn't believe his good fortune. But if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Marshall's 66-yard run resulted in a safety for the Niners.
This legendary blooper had the dubious distinction of earning the No. 1 spot in NFL Film's countdown of the 100 Greatest Follies.
**Speaking of Follies! You should follow mine on Twitter: Follow @blamberr