What It's All About
Every once in awhile, something happens on a basketball court that reminds you there are things more important than winning.
Saturday afternoon’s Stanford-Colorado game in Boulder was one of those times.
Early in the second half, with the Cardinal playing a near-perfect game and clinging to a lead over the No. 23 ranked Buffaloes, Colorado’s burly 6-8, 262 pound Evan Battey barreled toward the basket—like a buffalo.
Stanford’s best player, Oscar da Silva—all 6-9, 225 pounds of him—went up to try to block the shot. Major collision. Da Silva crumpled to the floor, landing on the side of his head. He didn’t move for several seconds. Blood oozed from his head onto the hardwood.
The whole Colorado Event Center went completely silent. Players on both teams seemed to be in shock. Battey and Stanford guard Daejon Davis were both crying uncontrollably.
“I’m a big dude,” Battey said. “I had my eyes closed when I went up and I think I must’ve elbowed him in his face. I saw his reaction and the way he was laying there and I just broke down.”
Battey was inconsolable, apologizing to Stanford coach Jerod Haase with tears streaming down his face.
Colorado forward McKinley Wright was also deeply moved by the scary collision. “It was emotional because I looked over, and seeing Oscar’s head bleeding and his eyes starting to roll back into his head, I just got down on my knees and said a prayer.”
Buff coach Tad Boyle suggested to Wright that the players get together to pray, and so the two teams formed a circle, arms around each other, to pray for da Silva.
“I think it's a great show of unity and I have a great deal of respect for the Colorado program,” Haase said. “Coach Boyle is first class and everything you saw there was genuine and real. Again, I think this game represents what's right about college basketball in a concerning time for our sport. Colorado and Coach Boyle are at the forefront of doing it right.”
The Colorado medical staff brought out a stretcher, but after several minutes da Silva was able to walk off the court with two people assisting him. The good news is that Oscar is going to be fine. He had a large laceration that required several stitches and has entered the concussion protocol.
In a week or two, fans may forget about the injury. But those who witnessed the two teams coming together will never forget that show of unity and sportsmanship.
“It was emotional,” Boyle said. “I think the way their coaches and their players responded, and how our players responded, was really special.
Yes, it was.