For all the naysayers and snowflakes and marginalizers who said that the Patroons were done, that they were out the door, that this return to professional basketball was nothing but a joke…
I say to them, go kick rocks.
Because last night, the Albany Patroons – with 30 points from Edwin Ubiles, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the first quarter – smoked the Ohio Bootleggers 116-107, knocking Ohio out of the playoffs and advancing to the NAPB championship round. Our next opponent will either be the Yakima Sun Kings or the Kansas City Tornadoes, those two play each other in their best-of-three series over the weekend.
Yeah. Albany stood tall last night. We may not have everything you would expect, but we make do. And the fans cheered and roared and sang and clapped and enjoyed every single minute of it.
But there was one moment last night… one moment that essentially said, “It may be us against the world, but we’ll still stand tall.”
Follow along with me on this one.
As the team’s PA announcer, here’s my opening script and duties. Read the introduction, introduce the visitor starting five, introduce the Patroons’ starting five, hand the microphone off to the National Anthem singer, then introduce the referees.
Okay. Everything seems to be in place. Read the opening remarks. Introduced both teams …
Where’s the National Anthem singer?
Uh-oh. Whoever he or she is, he or she is late to the building.
Okay, we can go to Plan B. We have the Whitney Houston “Star Spangled Banner” CD read, and –
No we don’t. It’s not in the CD tray.
Both teams are standing at attention, waiting for a National Anthem performance.
At that moment, I had three choices. I could either:
- (A) start the game without a National Anthem.
- (B) Wait a few minutes for someone to download a suitable National Anthem and upload it to the PA system.
- (C) Hand the microphone off to the first fan who wants to sing it, and hope they at least know all the words.
And in the end, I chose Option D.
Ain’t no way this game is starting without us honoring our great nation.
Even if I have to leave the scoring table, walk out to center court, stand on the Patroons logo, and sing the anthem myself.
Which I did.
You read that correctly.
Because when you’re an Albany Patroons fan, you do whatever is necessary.
I did okay – I wasn’t Whitney Houston, but I wasn’t Roseanne or Fergie either.
And thank the ghost of Francis Scott Key that nobody filmed me.
Yeah, I could imagine what would happen if the Times Union got a hold of this video. The headline at the paper would probably read, “Ugly Schlub Sings National Anthem, Patroons Win Anyway.”
That’s okay. National Anthem sung, now let’s play some hoops.
And right from the tip, Albany scored and never looked back. We had a lead of over 20 points at times, and every time Ohio made it a close battle, Jamario Moon would come up with a key block, Steven Cunningham would slam the ball into the next county, DeAndre Thomas would muscle his way to the hoop, Xavier Moon would hit a key three-pointer, Jalen Robinson came out of nowhere to score, it was a team effort and a team victory.
So as that great country music singer, Juliette Barnes, once sang, “Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet.”
Now bring on Kansas City. Bring on Yakima. Hell, bring on Golden State, I don’t care right now.
All I care about is that we’re still playing and we’re still a team, Albany Patroons, proud and strong.
Gold and kelly green, baby.
That’s all that matters right now.
And our title is two victories away.
Rockets’ red glare, bitches. 😀