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True IT blooper#114: Technical foul

An impromptu game of basketball ends with the shutdown of a main production server.

Many famous basketball games have ended with a clutch shot from the free-throw line. You know the scenario: two seconds left on the clock and your favorite team is down by only one point. A player stands alone at the line, the final outcome of the game relying on him and him alone. The ball flies through the air, the crowd falls silent and "swoosh" – the opposing team is shutdown.

One infamous basketball game that you're probably not familiar with, however, ended up with a main production server being shutdown instead.

A mainframe operator for a New Zealand bank at the time, Jenny and her coworkers employed their favorite sport from across the pond to pass the time. "We had a mini basketball hoop and ball in the console room to keep us amused on the long boring night shift," Jenny explained.

One night, during a particularly heated full console room press, a wild rebound set the stage for a mini-disaster.

According to Jenny, "One of the lads threw the ball at the hoop and missed. It bounced off of the backboard and arched toward the keyboard of the nearest workstation, hitting the BREAK key which halted the system."

Jenny quickly blew the whistle and called systems support in nearby Australia. The official explanation logged was "unexplained system crash". To avoid any future technical fouls, Jenny removed the BREAK key from the rest of the board, and replaced it only when needed.

It's a shame that such an emergency stemmed from their adopted sport, but imagine all the damage that a cricket bat would have inflicted.

Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at, part of the TechTarget network.

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