In 1992, in Stevenson, Alabama, North Jackson hosted the Fort Payne Wildcats in a high school basketball game.
It was Valentine’s Day.
North Jackson went into the game shorthanded. Their leading scorer had recently quit the team because he felt he wasn’t getting enough playing time, leaving ten players to take on the Wildcats.
By all accounts, it was one of the strangest games in basketball history. An absurd amount of fouls were called by the officials. When it was all said and done, the refs had called 84 personal fouls.
Being already short-handed, North Jackson saw its players foul out one by one. The fact that the game went into overtime did not stop the refs from calling more fouls. With 17 seconds to go, North Jackson found themselves with procession of the ball, tied with the Wildcats at 67. There was only one problem.
North Jackson was down to two players. Two against five.
Young Chad Cobb and Robert Collier faced an insurmountable task but they still had to go out and play those last 17 seconds. And play they did.
Collier stands on the sidelines, holding the ball and awaiting the whistle. Cobb stands awaiting the ball, surrounded by four Wildcats.
The whistle blows and somehow Cobb breaks free, grabs the pass from Collier and charges down the court. He gets to the basket, throws up a layup. He can only watch as the ball bounces off the backboard, off the rim and into the hands of a trailing Robert Collier.
Collier is instantly surrounded by Wildcats. He pump fakes. The defenders bite, all of them at once. Collier is open.
He drains it.
Two beat five.
North Jackson defeats Fort Payne.
This story about Robert Collier and Chad Cobb is a refreshing reminder that no matter how steep the odds, on any given day, one team can beat the other. It is why we watch, why they play the games.
The Kansas City Chiefs have looked absolutely awful this season. On paper, they’ll be predicted to lose every game they play until they turn things around.
The Chiefs may struggle this season. They may not make the playoffs. There will probably be more bad than good.
But that doesn’t mean Chiefs fans shouldn’t tune in every week and cheer on their team. After all, as Robert Collier and Chad Cobb taught us, at any moment, something magical might happen.
If you want to enjoy the rest of the Chiefs’ season, then I challenge you to embrace being the underdog. Forget about the final win total, the playoffs or Andrew Luck. Forget about the last game. Think only of Sunday. Of Chiefs vs. Chargers.
Because on any day, the underdog might win. An upset might occur. Two might beat five.
Just ask the Fort Payne Wildcats.
Just ask the team that beat them.
The North Jackson Chiefs.