Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a game!!

I have missed a couple of days of posting. Sorry about that. I needed to spend some time on other things and time got away.

But tonight we celebrate.

As anyone who has read much of this blog should know, this is a household full of Oregon State Beaver fans. I, in particular, watch a lot of college sports. Baseball, football, volleyball, gymnastics, and the occasional softball game. But my favorite game to watch is basketball. I love the pace, the activity and the strategy. During my childhood, the OSU football team was in the midst of 28 years of losing seasons but the men's basketball team was one of the best in the nation. We had a dynamic coach, great players and some fantastic wins. But in the years since my high school graduation, we have seen a downward spiral in OSU men's basketball. It started with the retirement of our fabulous coach and the promotion of one of the assistants. The downward fall hit an abrupt and ugly stop at rock bottom two years ago when we did not win a conference game, saw the head coach fired in the middle of the season and the seats of Gill colesium more empty than full. For diehard fans like myself, it was a bitter pill to swallow and a painful season to sit through.

Since then things have been on the upswing. OSU hired Craig Robinson, BIL of President Obama, as the new head coach. He took a ragtag and dejected group of young men and exploited their natural talent by working them hard and making them a team. The team surprised everyone by not just winning a few games but by achieving a winning record and winning a post season tournament. But there was a big hurdle the team still stumbled on. They did not manage to beat the rival school down the road. This season has started out rocky. We have had some great wins, many very close games and some heartbreaking losses. But little was as devastating as last week's loss to Seattle University. It was the worst loss that Gill Coliseum has ever seen within its walls.

But tonight, on regional TV, OSU redeemed itself. They went to McArthur Court, better known as The Pit, to take on the red hot, running, gunning, Oregon Ducks. The OSU/UO rivalry puts most college rivalries to shame in it's length and intensity. It had been 16 years since OSU had come out of The Pit with a win. Incidentally, that last win came on my 19th birthday in 1993. If you are of a mind to do some math, you can now figure out how old I really am. LOL. But back to tonight. Tonight was expected to be all about the Ducks. They had one of their best players, Terrell Brandon, back in the house to honor him by retiring his number. This was supposed to be the Ducks night to go out of The Pit with a win to commemorate the closing of the old building. This is the last Civil War that will ever be played there. Next year, we will all be watching them play in their new digs on campus.

So it was with great excitement that the Beaver fans in the crowd watched our team jump out to an 8-0 lead. It was a lead that would never be relinquished. That's right, the team that lost by 51 points on Wednesday night, rallied together and became a team that could get it done. And get it done they did. They lead wire to wire and made the final game at The Pit memorable for such a different reason than everyone, including myself, was expecting. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have faith that this team can do great things but they needed this big win to right a ship that listing dangerously. Now, with a renewed sense of self, this team can move on from losing 16 straight at The Pit with the memory of this final game in the venerable building. What an amazing end to an era.

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