I'll admit I didn't watch all of the Auburn-Georgia football game Saturday. I was channel surfing trying to find the best game and, with Auburn leading 37-17 early in the fourth quarter, I settled in on the Duke-Miami game.
I did get back to Auburn-Georgia just in time to see the final dramatic moments.
If you are a fan of Southeastern Conference football, you're probably aware that Georgia came back and took the lead with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter. Then, in dramatic fashion, the Tigers pulled the game out on an amazing — and somewhat improbable — 73-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis with 25 seconds left.
The pass was deflected by a pair of Bulldog defenders and, as Louis turned around, the ball floated into his hands for the easy score.
Veteran CBS color commentator Gary Danielson went a little batty on the play. Danielson called the play, "A miracle of miracles."
I'm sorry, Gary, but that was a football play, not a miracle. Yes, it was a great play, an amazing play and an improbable play. But calling it a miracle is going overboard.
Too often, members of the sports media confuse great plays or great wins with miracles.
Al Michaels' call of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team's win over the Soviet Union will forever be remembered by his rhetorical question, "Do you believe in miracles?" A few years ago, a movie, "Miracle on Ice," was made to celebrate that special team and the place it holds in our nation's sports lore.
To answer Michaels' question, Yes, I believe in miracles, but no matter how spectacular the play or improbable the win, don't expect to see me call an athletic endeavor a miracle.
I have five nieces, two nephews, three great-nephews and two great-nieces; each of their births was a miracle.
I have watched several couples stay together a lifetime when society seems as comfortable with divorce as it does with marriage. As an old bachelor, I know that finding love is a miracle. And having a love that lasts long after that first spark of romance is, what I believe, to be a true miracle.
I have witnessed, and been a part of, the miracle of friendship. I believe it's a miracle when people walk away from hurricanes or tornadoes uninjured after the storm leveled their home.
I believe in healing miracles, but not in the way some TV preachers go about it.
I would hope that everyone, regardless of their faith or lack thereof, would consider the functioning human body just by itself a miracle.
I believe that fine-tuned athletic bodies are miracles that allow the athlete to do amazing, seemingly impossible things, but you won't hear me calling those plays a miracle.
In Crestview High School's spring football game earlier this year, Bulldog running back Emmanuel Reed reached behind his back and flipped an under-thrown pass over his head and caught the ball in stride. Reed's play was amazing — and probably better than the Louis catch.
I once covered a high school girls basketball game when a player made two half-court shots at the buzzer to end two different quarters.
Again, great plays, but no miracle.
I understand that those of us in the media rely on hyperbole when we are caught up in a moment we find hard to describe. But highly sought after, well-trained athletes making great plays will never be a miracle in my book.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.
Watch the "North End Zone Sports Report," 6 p.m. Wednesdays at crestviewbulletin.com/video, for more of Randy Dickson's insight on North Okaloosa sports