Shot Heard Around the Rike Center Still One of My Favorite Memories

“Sara Fee for three…and it’s in!”

Those were the words I uttered during the WOCC-TV3 broadcast of what was the winning shot between the Otterbein vs Capital women’s basketball game in 2008. The shot took place from half court and went right in for Otterbein to take down Capital in the final regular season game that year. The miracle has been named “The Shot Heard Around the Rike Center” and anyone there to witness it remembers the elation felt when the shot made a swish through the hoop.

I’ve seen many great sports moments since this shot but it is still one of my favorite sports memories of all time. The shot only took three seconds to reach the hoop but the events leading up to it are what also made that day special for me.

Four years prior to “The Shot Heard Around the Rike Center,” I was a freshman at Otterbein and was given the opportunity to call some Otterbein women’s basketball games on the campus TV station WOCC-TV3 and the radio station, WOBN-FM. Being eager as I was, I jumped at the opportunity to call their games to gain some experience. I came to Otterbein to get behind the microphone and the opportunity was right in front of me.

Calling games had been something I had done for a while and it was natural to become friends with some of the athletes on the teams. I was friends with some of the football, soccer, basketball, wrestlers and swimmers in high school and met most of these people through calling the games. I wasn’t friends with everyone on each team but became friends with a couple of athletes from each team.

When I started calling the Otterbein women’s basketball games, that changed in a positive way. Instead of becoming friends with just a couple of the players, most of the team took the time to get to know me. It wasn’t just two or three of the players who took the time to say hi; it was a good majority of the team who would say hi to me on the way to class, lunch, dinner and even when I was working out. Players such as Chelsea Callif, Sara Fee, Abbey Perez, Ana Gamble, Jennifer Duke, Danni Holbrook, and a few others went out of their way to get to know who I was and get to know me as a person.

Was I surprised I was making friends by calling their games? No I wasn’t.

Was I surprised it seemed like a collective effort that most of the players took the time to get to know me? Yes! I was definitely grateful that most of the team took the time to get to know me and didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did! I had made a nice group of friends to cheer on while announcing in just that first year.

Throughout my college career, I continued to call games and continued to build my friendship with the players on the Otterbein women’s basketball team. New faces would arrive each year to replace those who graduated and the new faces like Laura Roth, Karli Volkmer, Katy Miller, Allison Huettel, Jessica Tonges and Allyson Sheppard continued to take the time to get to know me and say hi whenever we crossed paths on campus.

As the final regular season game against Capital approached my senior year, I decided I needed to do something to say thank you. It meant a lot to me that these girls were kind to me during my four years of college and I needed to show my gratitude. I couldn’t let the opportunity to say thank you slip away.

I had been up early that day to do a board operating shift at WRFD-AM (880 AM in Columbus) and was on quite a bit of caffeine. Yes, I did drink quite a bit of coffee prior to showing up at the Rike Center to call the game and was in a good mood to go with the caffeine rush. I knew the day was going to be fun and couldn’t wait to see my friends before the game started.

Prior to setting up my notes for the broadcast, I dropped off a long written thank you note to the team. A half hour later, Chelsea Callif came out of the locker room and thanked me for writing it. As she was walking back to start warming up, I mentioned I wanted to take a picture with the entire team. She didn’t hesitate to say yes and several minutes later, one of my favorite pictures from college was taken with a great group of friends I had made.

I was in a pretty good mood when the game started and had my friend Aaron Angel by my side to call the action. Aaron was a little nervous beforehand but settled in nicely and ended up doing a great job.

As the second half was coming to a close, Capital had taken the lead for the first time that day. With less than a minute to go, I couldn’t help but hope for a miracle that Otterbein would pull it off. I didn’t want to see my friends lose to our arch rival in this fashion and wanted to see a victory for the Cardinals.

When the final seconds were on the board, a pass was thrown to Sara Fee and she raced towards center court. With one heave, I started to hope that the shot would go in. Three seconds later, my hope became the miracle.

“Sara Fee for three….and it’s in!!!”

Aaron and I stood there in disbelief as we both realized we had witnessed an incredible shot to end the game. The miracle had happened and my friends were going to get one last regular season victory against Capital.

It took me a while to wind down from the excitement and I managed to talk to some of the players afterwards. I took the time to thank Chelsea for setting up the picture and gave her a nice hug before she left the Rike Center. I took a quick moment to hug Sara Fee before she left and Karli Volkmer wasted no time in giving me a hug when she saw me on the concourse. It had been a great day and an awesome way to end it.

Three years have passed since the miracle happened and “The Shot Heard Around the Rike Center” is still one of my favorite moments. The actual shot was a short moment in time but I will never forget the kindness that led up to it.

 

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~ by jeffrsabo on January 21, 2012.

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