Just last week, I stumbled across a YouTube video of Matt Lottich’s dad cheering on his son at the 2004 Stanford-Arizona game. The clip was only half a minute long, but just five seconds in, something caught my eye in the background: a little kid jumping up to scream about some bad call.
Then I looked closer. The little kid was me.
At first, I was just caught off guard to see a 10-year-old Joey on my computer screen. I’d actually seen this clip before, and though I certainly remembered sitting behind Lottich’s enthusiastic dad way back when, I was surprised that I hadn’t discovered the video in the six years since it was posted. And boy, was Little Joey cute.
After a minute of letting that set in, I couldn’t help but laughing. Little Joey clearly screams, “WHAT!!! COME ON!” before an exaggerated eye-roll and either a prolonged boo or a cough, I can’t tell which. When I showed the video to my roommate, he told me that I still react the same way to bad calls at Stanford football games, 10 years later.
I watched the video again — and again, and again. Little Joey didn’t just look cute; he looked fierce.
And that’s when the memories started streaming in.
I was sure I remembered The Miracle at Maples. Over the last decade, I’d compulsively watched and rewatched the last minute of that game — on VHS for a few years, then, more recently, on YouTube. Every pass, every steal, every shot became second nature. What sporting event had I attended that was quite like that one? None, really. That game ranked at the top of my list, and I wanted to burn it into my memory as deep as possible, like a groove in an old vinyl record.
But really, I had forgotten everything — until I saw the fire in Little Joey’s eyes last week.
That’s when it all came back. The Sixth Man Club, jumping up and down all game. The jam-packed crowd, erupting after every 3, screaming after every bad call. The floor, rumbling beneath my seat. Things were a bit different back then.
That kind of stuff can’t be captured by a TV broadcast — at least, not fully. I may have thought I was paying homage to arguably the greatest moment in Stanford sports history by internalizing the highlight of Nick Robinson’s buzzer-beater, but in reality, I was reducing it to just that: a buzzer-beater.
It was so refreshing talking to members of the 2003-04 Cardinal because they remembered that game — and that season — for what it really was. Most of them had trouble recalling every detail of the final minute of that game, but each and every one had vivid memories of the personalities on their team, the on-court celebration with the Sixth Man and what it was like to be in that locker room with their brothers in arms.
Those are the type of memories I tried to infuse into today’s 10th anniversary feature, “The day Maples shook,” alongside the highlights and TV calls that have taken over that game’s legend during the last decade.
A lot of people turn to home videos for reminders of the good old days. I turned to a clip from my home away from home, Maples Pavilion, for a reminder of Feb. 7, 2004, the greatest day of them all.
Little Joey could teach Big Joey a thing or two.
Big Joey Beyda’s prolonged coughing fits following bad calls at Stanford football games are the reason why Stanford Stadium has a medical staff on hand. Tell Joey to express his consternation differently at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.