Ferris Bueller was a pretty smart fellow. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you obviously know the quote “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Insightful words from a kid that skipped school every single day.
College (and pro) sports fans tend to miss out on this opportunity often, because of our obsession with winning, our constant need to be able to talk trash to our coworkers and friends and most importantly, our inability to deal with defeat of the highest magnitude.
When Tech’s baseball season ended last night, I said a few swear words in my head, took a deep breath, and then tipped my proverbial cap to the gents for a fantastic ride through this spring and early summer. Like most people, in the moment, it’s hard for me to “look around.” Instead of being upset that it’s over, I really want to celebrate that it happened.
This team was resilient. Watching them fight and claw their way through three elimination games against good teams just made me care even more. I thought “they can’t get rid of them...they just keep fighting.” Salute to Tadlock for that. They had serious talent and a momentum that seemed to grow throughout the season. They bashed their way to series after series wins and earned the Big 12 regular season title. Nobody can ever take that away from them.
Normally, Tech sports teams are the underdogs in big games. I’ve never known what it was like to root for a team like Duke or Alabama that expects to win the title every year. Reality changed the circumstances a bit this go around. This team could have won it all and they BELONGED. They downed several good teams to get their final game, including ousting the no. 1 team in the country on Tuesday. I didn’t want to sport the “Why Not Us” t-shirts, because I honestly read that as “We shouldn’t really be here and I’m just hoping we don’t get blown out, but isn’t this fun?”
We’ve all, at some point, become incredibly invested in specific Tech sports teams and unless it was the 1993 Women’s Basketball Team, you probably left with some sort of heartache. In 2008, my mind convinced me that we were going to win a National Championship. We were going to beat Bob Stoops and the Sooners in Norman and destroy whoever played us in the Big 12 Championship. Never mind that Tim Tebow and the Gators were a juggernaut...just let us get there and something magical will happen. Because it’s MY team.
For every Pittsnoggle dunk, there’s a Ronald Ross corner three. For every Sam Bradford TD pass, there’s a Jamar Wall pick to beat Nebraska. Unfortunately, this magical go around will be marred by some guy named Luken Baker and whatever a Chanticleer represents.
Jonathan Johnson in the Olympics, Tech Women’s Basketball against Duke in the Elite 8, baseball in Omaha two years ago. All ended with us uttering, “if we would have won that one, imagine what could have happened next.”
With this team, it was somewhere between “can they actually do it?” and “how sweet is it going to be when they win the whole thing.”
The awesome part about runs like this is that you become a part of it. You started chanting “GUUUUUTTTEEE” in your living room, looking for “Tech Baseball” shirts at the spirit shop and reading more stories about why everyone tweets emojis of water and trees. Even if you bandwagon’d, you at least got a window seat to see the entire thing.
Would winning another national championship have been awesome? Absolutely.
Should we all be pumped for a program that is going to continue to grow by leaps and bounds? No doubt.
Should we all put our guns up and celebrate the year that was the 2016 Tech baseball season? Yessir.
I could leave you with some corny line that sounds like I’m giving a graduation speech, but instead I’ll just say this: Thank you guys. I know no one is more disappointed than you, but I hope you enjoyed the ride. Let’s keep that tree watered for next year. Wreck ‘Em.