I'm normally not a post-game writer. I don't do that. I don't claim to know any of the intricacies and strategies, what you should do to win a game (well... besides hitting shots, getting rebounds, playing D... y'know. The obvious stuff). I'm supposed to be writing my effing final paper due on Monday at 5. But I think I might just call it a night.
Before that, though, can I say some things? They might be exhausted, two exams/one paper, whining and frustrated things, but can I say them anyway?
I am sick of the announcers talking about how Stephen's not here. I am sick of them acting surprised when we "hang around" when we're losing by 10 or 11 with five minutes to go, like they expect us to simply stop playing or stop trying to score, trying to win. That bothers me more than the "pesky" label ever has. I wanted to throw something at the TV when they said "and think about a Davidson team with Stephen Curry... down ten with 1:14 remaining." Like that would somehow help. Like thinking about that would make ANY of this better.
How does history happen so fast? All of this talk about 3/21/08 almost like it was Nantz&Packer talking about the Lefty years like they did that day, and it hasn't even been two years yet. It boggles my mind (and seeing Steven Gray with an afro instead of his freshman buzz that I see every time I watch that dvd made it extra weird). "Curry was 8 of 10 that night," one announcer said... "It was 12:20 in the afternoon," I muttered. I was there. And when I heard "one of the greatest careers in college basketball history," my heart swelled a bit bigger. That kid. That story.
I am grateful, happy, moved that there will always be a group sitting around a television watching a Davidson basketball game when there is one to watch. 15 people or 150 -- I don't friggin care. I get into some kind of conversation with a new person every single time.
I like watching JP drive and being reminded of JRich. I LOVE watching Brendan hit threes and talk to his teammates. I'm proud that they play like they do, not saying I like it when they make stupid TOs or miss FTs, but I can see them starting to play like a team, moving fast and working hard and clumping into huddles and not stopping. Bob roaring on the sidelines, Kilgo in the background of the screen, cocking his head, chatting away in that sandpaper south voice of his that I can't hear but I know it's there, Kruse with laptop up and eyes on the court. I love connections across the country, sending texts to Sarah and knowing that her phone is ringing in the same building that I'm watching on tv thousands of miles away (and she called me afterwards, and I could hear the smile in her voice). I love starting to understand how the freshmen play, and realizing that I will get to watch them go and grow through the ups and downs of four years of Davidson basketball. That is so cool to me. And it never gets old watching my peers that I see around campus on TV. ("I know him," a guy next to me said, pointing at Jake. "He's on TV and I know him." Yup. Strange how that happens. Hey, you see that guy, that one, playing PG against the Suns? He sat behind me in biology.)
And while I'm sure that most people around me think I'm a freak, I really appreciate that I feel comfortable enough to clap and yell obscenities in the middle of the Union.
"It's not the same," a dear friend of mine lamented at dinner tonight, both of us drained from exams ("They'll take the red eye outta here," the announcer said. "It's finals week!" Uh, fuck yeah it is.) and life and trying to figure out whatever life after May 16 2010 is supposed to be. "It's the same but it's not the same." We were sitting next to the 900 Room, closed and empty. I kept checking my watch, looking around for someone to come open it up, bring down the big screen, set up the chairs, helloooo, we're playing in fifteen minutes! Nope. My eyes started to sting. Not simply because of that, there's a lot scratching the surface this week -- but somehow it just made me sadder than I normally let it. She's right. It is different.
But you know what? When we lead, when we hit shots, when we go on runs and force the turnovers, electricity slides up my spine exactly like it has for the past three years. The slipping, the result, they hurt, and I yell, I get mad, the potential is so there. It's possible, it's possible. And I feel just as excited as I did about a Stephen Curry-led, Jason Richards/Thomas Sander-led Davidson team.
My phone just turned off and then on again for no reason. It's four years old, so it does that from time to time. And the welcome message I encoded about thirty-four months ago popped up as it buzzed awake:
"let's go wildcats!!"