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COLUMN: Momentum Swings To The Surreal

Heights Senior Staff

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 23:01


Graham Beck / Heights Editor

A minute later, a stretcher was wheeled out onto the court to where the UNC guard was sitting, still along the baseline. As Jeff Savarino, an Eagle EMT, stabilized Hairston’s head, those eyes still closed in pain, the staff lifted him onto the stretcher. Williams said a few more words to Hairston and gave him a pat on the shoulder before he was strapped in and wheeled off of the court to a standing ovation.

It lasted all of nine minutes. 

Nine minutes between the second Hairston took an elbow to the head in midair on the drive by Heckmann and the second he was wheeled off on a stretcher into the UNC locker room.

But those nine minutes seemed like eternity.

Seconds later, the game resumed. It was back to the action on the hardwood, and UNC went on to beat BC in the end.

By the second half, Hairston was walking around on his own power, and rejoined his team on the bench. He was officially diagnosed with a concussion, and sat on the bench with a towel draped over his head.

Heckmann’s drive to the basket—or any player’s drive to the basket—had happened harmlessly countless times before in the game of basketball. Until Tuesday night, when an elbow found a head, instantly making the game itself seem meaningless. 

What had once seemed like an important game became a terrifying scene. Once Hairston went down, the emotions went up. There was uncertainty. There was panic. There was grief. Later, there was relief. 

And ultimately, somehow, there was still a game to be played.

All it took was one misplaced elbow to turn basketball into life, and nine minutes into eternity.

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