Bruins Finally Experience The Agony Of A Close Defeat In A Big Game
For much of their existence, UCLA sports fans have lived pretty much lived a charmed life.
They have been the recipient of 11 college basketball National Championships with more great memories than horrors: Tyus Edney dribbling coast-to-coast for an improbable March Madness moment that paved the way to the 1995 title, too many pull-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat plays against rival USC on the football field to even briefly recount here and, most recently, the team’s unexpected run to from the First Four to the Final Four.
To this point it has avoided the type of heart-breaking loss in big games that haunt fans of so many other teams: Stanford losing to Cal in the 1982 five-lateral band-on-the-field kickoff return, wide right and wide left moments for Florida State fans against Miami, Buffalo Bills fans agonizing of Scott Norwood missing a field goal that would have won Super Bowl XXV, “The Drive” and “The Fumble” for Cleveland Browns fans, “The Catch” for Dallas Cowboys fans.
Just the name “Christian Laettner” brings bad chills to fans of Kentucky basketball 30 years after the Duke center’s turn-around shot in what many people consider to be the biggest miracle shot in March Madness history.
So perhaps the Bruins fans were due for a letdown. Long overdue.
Not anymore tho, for they got one in a 40-foot banked-in three-pointer at the buzzer that knocked them out of the 2021 Final Four.
From this point forward the name Jalen Suggs will be forever etched into the minds and memories of Bruin fans like Laettner is to Kentucky fans, Norwood is to Bills fans, Bill Buckner is to Boston Red Sox fans, Skip Bartman is to Chicago Cubs fans, Deshawn Watson is to Alabama football fans and the Tuck Rule is to Oakland Raiders fans.
And it’s not just the name that will cause Bruin fans to cringe but the moment. The agonizing loss when the team was this close to making it to the title game.
UCLA could go onto win the National Championship the next season – and win several more through the years – yet the Suggs shot will never leave them. That’s the “fisherman mentality:” it’s always the one (or ones) that got away that you can never forget.