Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Dog Days Aren't Over

(Photo by B. Hansen, Courant Staff)

From Cardiac Kemba, to five wins in five days, to a third National Championship, UConn seemed to have the potion for the motion this season. 
On April 14, 2011 they became college basketball royalty; on October 19, 2011 they were tied for first place in the coaches' voting poll with Syracuse. However, come March 2012, Syracuse was 17-1 in Big East play, while UConn finished with a dismal 8-10 record in the conference. Of course, in the spirit of rooting for underdogs and wide-eyed enthusing comebacks, all would have been forgotten, had the Huskies pulled something... anything... off in the postseason.... But they didn't. They couldn't. They just couldn't get it together. 
As a fan of the Huskies, it was difficult to root for a team that, game in and game out, seemed to stop rooting for themselves. Now, I believe Napier and Drummond and Giffey and, even subdued Jeremy Lamb, wanted to win, and sometimes they did win. But honestly, I never ached for this team. Not the way I ached for last year's team. Not the way I ached for that fifth game in five days as I sat nosebleed at MSG. Not the way I ached for Kemba Walker in the Final Four as he rested on his knees at the foul line, trembling from exhaustion, trembling from the overwhelming notion that their incredible destiny rested upon him. 
But lets be honest. I completed my undergrad at UConn. I am a fan of UConn. So I ask myself this question again: did I ache for UConn this year?  <sigh> Yes, I guess did. But it wasn't the team of players on the court that I couldn't quite get attached to that I ached for. Rather, it was it was the boys in the jerseys who were lost, with out a leader, that tugged at my fan strings. No Kemba. No Calhoun. No more potion for the motion. Now that was the saddest sight. 
And now I wonder, is April 5, 2012 the day that we can't turn back from? Who in this great Husky Nation could have imagined that one year after cutting down the nets in Houston that the Huskies would be banned from the magic of March Madness in 2013?

It would be redundant to sit here and outline the NCAA's process and policies and positions. It would be overstated to say I don't agree with the decision to hold back 16 boys who are on the road to becoming great athletes, but more importantly young men, for the mistakes of others. However, when men, making $2 million a year, wearing ties and flying on private jets, can't decipher between punishing a school for their past or holding back young men from their future, then I have to say whole heartedly, I ache for UConn.  

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