Okay, so I was going to post a beautifully crafted essay about last night's huge win over Ohio State. But, unfortunately, that takes more effort than I'm willing to expend, so instead a listing of random thoughts, memories, and observations from the Show Me state. Which we did. Show them. See why I skipped the essay thing?
1. I've never before experienced the way I felt the last minute of that game. I was almost directly behind the goal on the Vols end of the court, about 20 rows up. Finally everyone was standing up in my section, which had a mixture of all four schools. Anyway, I did not feel consciously very nervous like I usually do, just very calm. However, when Bobby Maze was about to shoot those free throws, I became aware that my legs were shaking like crazy. I almost could not stay on my feet. It was like my body was about to collapse but my brain was okay.
2. I've never gone to a big game like this. It was incredible. I was so proud to be a Vol! Our band was so much better than Ohio State's, our fans were so much louder that Ohio State's, our orange is so much brighter than their color, our team WON! The band, of course, played Rocky Top a number of times, but only twice did they do the thing where they stop playing and just have the fans singing. Once was during the timeout right near the end when the game was on the line. There were a lot on Northern Iowa fans around me (very cool people, BTW) and I think they were getting goosebumps. The Big Orange Nation responded well to the call from Bruce to represent!
3. While we had quite a few more fans there than Ohio St., Northern Iowa had us both beat. There were a lot of those folks there, and they were passionate. We had the next largest contingent, followed by Ohio State, then MSU. I, like some of you guys in the "scouting" thread, found myself almost hoping for Michigan St. to win because I didn't want to have to play against those UNI fans! It was hard to actually cheer against them, though. I think MSU will be a harder matchup for us, but I think with our team, and how they really seem to thrive on crowd support, it's really important to have a louder crowd on their side. Hopefully that will again be the case tomorrow.
4. One disadvantage of my good seats on the floor was my inability to take part in the celebration going on in the UT section (and by the players) immediately after the win. I could hardly even see what was going on because there was so much movement in my area, plus I had to go try to find a ticket for Sunday. Which I did! I was holding up my little sign, and trying not to hurt the feelings of OSU fans by swooping in like a vulture and asking for their tickets, when a UT fan came up and said he had an extra (in the UT section!) I could have for face value, as his brother was unable to make the trip. I'm meeting him before the game to pick it up (or perhaps meeting downtown this afternoon to get it, if I go down there).
5. I love this team, especially our seniors. They played with such heart and passion, plus they're good! If anyone wants to read the full text of the postgame press conference it's available (supposedly video as well) for all the games along with pictures, etc here: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-baskbl/champpage/inc/div1/postgamecentralmen2010.html
Okay, I'll shut up. If you can make it here tomorrow, come on down, or up, or over! Here's hoping my presence here, in my lucky "Poise, Passion, Purpose" T-shirt is good luck, and we can really fulfill that "Road to the Final Four" thing!
I'm going to find me some good Italian food!