Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Honoring the Unsung Sports Hero--The Walk On

Marquette Golden Eagle no. 34 Dylan Flood scoring 1st college basket 11/12/13

Marquette University’s basketball team was drubbing the Grambling State Tigers by nearly forty points well into the second half.  Marquette had three freshmen on the court which somewhat subsided the alluvia of scoring.  But with thirty seconds left, Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams ordered an intentional foul to allow for one last substitution.

Marquette's Dylan Flood
In the last half minute of play, Dylan Flood, a 6'4" 200 pound Junior Forward from Lisle, Illinois took to the court.  This move brought a lively cheer from hometown crowd which remained at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.   The broadcast crew commented that Flood was a fan favorite as he was a walk on player who rarely got any game time.  When Marquette moved the ball up court, the players passed the ball around the horn and set Flood up to take a shot.  He smartly dribbled into traffic and scored his first points in a college game.

This incident would be a minor moment which could easily pass without notice.  Yet while watching the replay of Flood’s  shot, one could not help but notice the exuberant reaction from players on the Marquette bench to Flood’s hoop.   The final result of 114 to 71 was not in doubt. But the whole hearted applause from the bench to Flood’s  first NCAA points was like fanfare for the unsung hero: the bench player.

Both college and pro sports programs often have hoopla when introducing starting players at games.  Sometimes the sixth man in basketball gains renown as being the dependable first substitution.  But there are fourteen men on the team and the NCAA only allows thirteen scholarship players.  So the walk on player works hard in practice, often simulating what opponents  will do offensively and defensively, without accruing much actual game time.

Aside from their contributions in practice, these walk on players serve as an inspiration for their teammates.  They work hard without glory or scholarship recompense.  So the cheers from the bench for a walk-on’s basket show a respect for the team member not in the spotlight.

Watching  Dylan Flood’s practice reel shows that he has some skills on the practice court. Now that the first point barrier has been broken, perhaps that will open the Flood gates.

 Congratulations on making into the MUBB record-book.  May his hard work make the team ready for the Big Dance in March.

No comments:

Post a Comment