I wrote a profile about the German basketball club that was relegated because of a Windows update, American college players playing abroad and the differences to NBA Basketball. ...and it's only a mere 3342 words long! If anyone is ludicrous and patient enough to read it, here it is.

3rd October – gameday has arrived. It's the first home game of the season. The opponents are the Oettinger Rockets Gotha, a team with many promising recent additions and sponsored by a beer brand ill-reputed as a “bum beer”. They have not lost a single game in the last nine months and are heavily favored. The people waiting in line to get in are standing under a big billboard with Adams on it. All in all there are about 1200 people in the stands that have been pulled out of the walls and transform the school gym into the Maspernhölle, a wordplay on its actual name, Maspernhalle, designed to suggest that their opponents are coming to play in hell. “1200 people, that's half capacity. Considering the situation of the club, that's not bad”, assures president Wolfgang Walter before going on to a friendly tease of an opposing fan sitting directly behind him. Considering that the team is also pretty much at “half capacity”, with youth players filling in for all the injuries, he might just be right. At first glance the arena is filled (or rather: half-filled) with a mixed crowd of all social classes and ages. The die-hard fans gather in groups on the stands behind the backboard and can be spotted easily by their attire. Many of them are shaking hands and seem very familiar with each other. The typical drums that lead the cheering are mostly held by little kids. They are opposed by about 50 just-as-die-hard Gotha fans who made the trip to Paderborn to support their team. The pregame show is clearly designed to emulate the big dogs: a dark arena with flashing lights, each team energetically running onto the court one by one as they are being introduced, high-fiving each other, all while Insomnia by Faithless is blaring in the background – it's all there, just a tiny bit comical and out of place. Even the cheerleaders are just as injury-stricken as the actual roster and the team mascot has to fill in.

Game time. The first quarter is dominated by turnovers and missed shots by the Baskets. Gotha gets into a position where they are able to do what Adams would like to: they start to show off and the momentum is clearly going their way. Neither the Paderborn Baskets, nor Jason Adams are going to breathe the air of higher leagues if they keep playing like this. After the first quarter they are down nine with the score being 14-23. The second quarter does not hold much promise either. The less-than-optimal preseason clearly shows in form of countless misunderstandings between the players and a never-ending streak of unnecessary mistakes on both ends of the court. Pretty much everyone who isn't a devoted fan has quieted down, even the thunder-kids and their drums have decided to rest. Not once has the home team been in the lead, but Gotha has lost its pace and allowed the Baskets to cut the lead to six points at 38-44, as the first half finally ends. With their team trailing, the cheerleaders are having even more problems getting anyone excited at half time. As the players leave the court, the coach is furiously arguing with Adams who is separated from the rest of the team. Wolfgang Walter and the main stakeholder are already having a dispute in the stands while Schubert is apathetically sitting next to them. “If we lose, it's Adams' fault. He is playing on his own too much. He's not able to deal with the fact that he used to be the star and there are now others.” The announcer is calling for volunteers to help out at home games. Ill-willed people would deliberately misunderstand this as a call for volunteers on and not off the court. The third quarter belongs to neither Gotha, nor Paderborn, but the referees. The questionable calls are almost outshining the passes into nowhere and other slip-ups of the sort. One of the referees involuntarily logs a steal when he fails to move out of the way for a pass. Jason Adams is still going for a lot of isolation plays, much to Schubert's dismay. But this time around, the American's attempts are actually successful. He is starting to put on a show with an imposing slam dunk followed by a three-point-play. As Adams and the Baskets get better, the crowd gets louder and the drums start dishing out their thunder in higher frequencies. Paderborn is getting closer, trailing by just three points after the third quarter. Adams is almost never out and becomes a vital part of the team, despite missing a few three-pointers. Paderborn hasn't been leading for a single second throughout the entire game, but with only 40 seconds left on the clock, they finally manage to tie the game up at 74-74 after Gotha has just missed three free throws in a row, resulting in Schubert releasing a scream that might have made Tarzan blush. For the first time in this game, Paderborn can taste the win. They gain possession and get in position. Paderborn's Guy Aud penetrates the key and scores an impressive layup for the 76-74 lead, leaving two defenders grabbing nothing but air behind him. They didn't use the full 24 seconds on the shot clock to their advantage and with 27.9 seconds left, there is still plenty of time for Gotha to score the equalizer and go into overtime. Gotha knows how to take their time and they utilize the shot clock, launching a three-pointer just before it runs out. It bounces off the rim, but they manage to get the offensive rebound and immediately call a timeout with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. The Maspernhölle is finally deserving of its name. The entire crowd is now standing and the atmosphere of sheer anticipation is electric. But one man is missing. Accompanied by many curious looks, Jens Schubert has left the stands. He just can't bear to watch. It's too much. The anticipation, the pressure, the joy, the fear – the stakes are too high for him to just sit there.

Inbound pass Gotha. This is their last opportunity and there will only be 4.5 seconds to seize it. The ball goes to their quick point guard at the top of the perimeter and he changes directions quickly, trying to get rid of Paderborn's Joost who is doing an excellent job defending the much smaller and quicker guard. The opposing guard finally rises and he launches the contested shot as 1200 people in the half-filled Maspernhalle and absolutely nobody at home hold their breath.


The buzzer goes off and so does the crowd. Chest bumps, high fives and wild celebration on one side of the court, while the other team is already heading for the shower. Watching the team celebrate, one can see that those players needed that win. And they got it. Jens Schubert is now back in the arena as well, crying. “I have to admit that I cried after the game. It was very emotional. This is what we went through all the fucking trouble for.” Jordan won his sixth championship, the Paderborn Baskets only won their first home game.

This is basketball.

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