We have all been on a basketball high lately and while our beloved Mountaineers didn't prevail over Duke in the Final Four round of the NCAA tournament, I think our star player and coach provided the best moment of the entire tournament. Actually, I think it is the most touching moment I have ever seen in sports, save for one local incident that had me truly crying in the stands once.
When Da'Sean Butler got injured and fell to the floor, writhing in pain, I was frozen on my couch. I felt for this young adult that I had come to love watch play basketball. He was obviously in such pain that it literally hurt my senses. I have heard people who have had bad knee injuries say they were reliving that horrible pain when watching the scene unfold.
Then Coach Bob Huggins rushed to his side, or perhaps more specifically, he literally hovered over his player. He got right in his face and began comforting this man who was like a son to him. He held his attention and, literally, his head. He even stroked his cheek.
It mesmerized a nation. . . or at the very least the Mountaineer Nation. It was truly a touching moment.
In an interview, Butler was asked what was said between the coach and player during that moment. Butler said he kept apologizing to his coach for not winning him the national championship. While he was writhing in pain he was concerned for his coach, his team, and his adopted state. He felt misery for not winning that coveted trophy.
Huggins, Butler said, just kept telling him he was proud of him and loved him. His player and team had not let him down.
Indeed they had not let down Huggins, their school, or their state. We fell deeper in love with our Mountaineers than we already were. It was a great season and a great ride, punctuated with a great, although bittersweet, moment. Thank you.