6 Hours by John Pitonzo

6 Hours

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separate Central European Standard Time from U.S. Eastern Standard Time. So, when I checked the score and Syracuse was already down 14-2 after only 4 minutes and 24 seconds of play, it was after 1 am Tuesday morning here in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Italy and not quite 7:05 pm Monday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Duke’s campus in Durham, North Carolina. Up past my normal bedtime, reading, I had no intention of listening to the game on internet radio, but merely tapped the ESPN app out of curiosity to see what the start of the game looked like. I turned off my phone, switched out the light, and figured my Syracuse Orangemen were going to get crushed. Which was to be expected. Duke is #1 in the country. Syracuse is unranked. Duke is at home. Syracuse just got beaten at home by 14 against an average ACC conference foe. The Blue Devils, while ranked #1, had never lost at home to an unranked team. 90-0. 104-0 if you take their Chapel Hill rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels, out of the equation. Syracuse is more than likely not going to make into the NCAA tournament at season’s end. Duke is predicted to be a final four team and no one will be surprised if they win it all. So you can imagine my shock and elation when I turned on my phone and saw this message from my brother: SU beat Duke. And then I tapped the app and there it was: Syracuse 95 – Duke 91 Final/OT. Syracuse will lose a bunch more games, and Duke will be out to even the score when they visit the Dome in late February. But none of that matters. Sporting events are full of these jaw-dropping singular moments that fill the heart with lasting joy. It happened last year in the NCAA tournament when #16 UMBC (who?) knocked off #1 seeded Virginia. When the New York Giants upset the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. When Buster Douglas knocked out the undefeated Mike Tyson. When the youngest USA team in Olympic History beat Russia(They called it The Miracle on Ice). When the USA beat England – The Kings of Football – in the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Upsets. In sports, there is nothing like them, if you’re on the winning side. And there is nothing like them, if you are on the losing side. After-all, upsets are truly upsetting.

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