One of my favorite lines from Anchorman occurs after the hero Ron Burgundy finds Veronica Corningstone trapped in a bear pit. Overwhelmed by the situation and attempting to act, Burgundy himself jumps into the bear pit, realizing he accomplished nothing and rather than helping Corningstone, he has added himself to the list of those endangered. At this moment he proclaims, “I immediately regret this decision!” Most people, much prefer the line Brick says about a minute later (I’m riding a fuzzy tractor), but I like Burgundy’s line more. I like it more because I can very much relate to it. Often times I find myself saying “I immediately regret this decision.” I consider myself an intelligent person, but I do make a large number of either brilliant or dumb decisions, with the proper adjective determined by the outcome.
One such situation occurred in the summer after my high school graduation. Myself and two friends were at our favorite Orange County beach. Like most South Orange County beaches this beach involved descending a large hill leading to a cliff and stairs and/or a ramp. On this particular day, upon arriving at the beach we noticed a giant sand dune imported from elsewhere. The sand dune was perched against the cliff, and was about 45 feet tall, the slope of the sand was approximately 20 degrees. Being a competitive bunch, we immediately devised a race. First to the top and back, wins. Myself and friend one lined up at the bottom, with friend two being the judge and possessor of the elusive hand marking the finish line. Friend two, shouts go and we were off. Friend one and myself are charging hard up this giant sand dune, and as we reach the top we are neck and neck. Slapping the cliff face we start racing back down the giant sand hill. As we race towards friend two, my inner competitor begins to overwhelm my good sense. As such, while running downhill I lean forward.
The problem is, the act of leaning forward also acts to move my center of gravity from over my feet, to somewhere in the airspace in front of my legs. My next step acts to propel me into flight. I fly past friend two (finishing first in the process) and beyond the edge of the sand dune. I look down at the ground 4 ft. below me, my body parallel is to the flat beach below, and I think to myself, “I immediately regret this decision”. I soar over the beach, and gravity begins to catch up with me. My upper body begins to nose dives towards the ground. BOOM! My whole body tenses up. I stick the landing, only I landed face first, and very much like a cartoon, the wet sand caught my body, and for a long moment my body sticks at a 45 degree angle. A second later, my feet fall straight to the ground. My friends come rushing over laughing their heads off. I roll over and my chest, shoulders, and left side of my face are all purple. Not red, not pink, but they immediately went purple. Dizzy and in pain I walked to my towel and laid down as my friends went to go ride the waves. That hurt. It was one of my many “I immediately regret this decision” moments.
Immediately regrettable decisions are a part of sports, and frequently mark momentum shifts, altering the eventual outcome of the game and possibly championships. Reggie Bush’s ill-fated lateral in the Rose Bowl is one such example. Chris Webber’s time out in the final four is another. Bartman’s decision to try and catch a foul ball in the Cubs-Marlins NLCS was another.
As sports fans, I ask you, what are your favorite or most painful immediately regrettable moments in sports? For the record, the ’07 season ended with a victory over Oregon, there is no need to mention anything else regarding that year? Do you have any entertaining immediately regrettable decisions?