Why Buzzer Beaters Suck [Half a Man]
The ability to shoot video on anything — smart phones, wristwatches and specially marked cans of Mr. Pibb — has brought a litany of otherwise unseeable sports moments to the world.
Years ago, you had to be lucky (or unlucky) enough to be sitting in the rotting bleachers of a grade-school gym to see a 9-year-old hit a miracle shot that will undoubtably be the highlight of his life. Go to YouTube right now, and you can watch six videos just from this week. Type “buzzer beater” into the search function, and half your day evaporates.
Every day, I’m emailed a video of some team beating some other team with a last second miracle shot. The subject line is usually some variation of outtakes from the HuffPo school of headline writing.
AMAZING, UNREAL, LAST MINUTE BASKET BY A SEVENTH GRADER WITH CELIAC DISEASE WILL RESTORE YOUR FAITH IN THE HUMAN SPIRIT!
THIS BUZZER BEATER BOMB BY A KID FROM A HIGH SCHOOL WITH AN ENROLLMENT OF ONE HUNDRED WHERE ANYONE CAN PLAY ON THE BASKETBALL TEAM MAKES A SHOT FROM THE OPPOSITE BASKET THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO PUNCH YOUR NUTS TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT DREAMING!
IS YOUR COFFEE KILLING YOU? PROBABLY. BUT BEFORE YOU DIE WATCH THIS BASKETBALL VIDEO!
I watch the video. The shot goes in. I yawn.
Am I the only person who doesn’t give a Clark Kellogg’s crack about buzzer-beater videos?
First, stop calling them “last-second buzzer-beaters” because they both mean the same damn thing. It’s an oxymoron of two phrases, if that’s even possible. I don’t know for sure because English is my third language behind Klingon and New Jersey.
I’m not talking about actual plays designed by a coach or make-able last-second shots. I’m referring to the “shoot for the rafters,” “wing and a prayer,” “doesn’t have a chance in hell but somehow finds a chance in hell and goes in” basketball shots.
Buzzer-beaters are always the worst ending in sports. A close second is the field goal on the final play by a guy who spent the last 59 minutes or so screwing with sideline cops and watching cheerleaders. There is absolutely no skill involved in the last minute desperation heave. If fat slobs hit the exact shot at halftime to win a Prius, it can’t be all that athletic of a feat.
I just don’t care. I don’t care when it happens in the pros because — just like my Uncle Jack the male hooker — those guys are paid handsomely to score on other men. NBA pros practice last-second shots more than a lonely kid on a playground. NBA teams have specific plays for just such moments. The same goes for college teams. High school buzzer-beater shots are only interesting from a social dynamic, because the first thought to pop into my mind is how the kid just elevated his social status by a billion points and how he’ll finally see his first real vagina at a party after the game. His popularity will last at least through the weekend.
As for all organizational basketball below the high school level, every shot is a buzzer-beater, because it takes the little turds the entire clock just to get a shot off. Every heave is from out of range and has little more than a prayer of going in.
A buzzer-beater usually ruins an otherwise tightly contested game and makes the other 30-40 minutes of regulation feel pointless. Two Division I teams bust their tails only to watch some second-string accounting major who only suits up to keep the team GPA above 2.5 hit a 50-footer and get carried off the court like Jimmy Chitwood.
With March Madness weeks away, it’s only going to get worse. There is nothing I can do, because as long as people dribble a basketball, teams will forget to play defense in the last seconds of a game and a buzzer beater will happen. Until someone realizes they should just foul the crap out of the guy with the ball, because it is a hell of a lot harder to make a shot knowing the game is on the line than a lucky toss, the buzzer beater will continue to exist.
I can just refuse to watch the videos. I’d rather watch a goat scream a Taylor Swift song. Now that’s an actual oxymoron.
Chris Illuminati is the editor-in-chief of GuySpeed. He’s written three humor books, ruined many personal relationships and still cries during thunderstorms. His “Half a Man” column appears every week. You can read more of his work here or follow him on Twitter.