Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: The meaning of being a fan when your team is on the verge of perfection.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,346

    Default The meaning of being a fan when your team is on the verge of perfection.

    There’s two American sports where a perfect season is immortalized beyond all others: the NFL and NCAA basketball.

    I’ve been captivated by all things Zagdom since the days they first started dancing, and I’ve been amazed by the growth and development of young men battling to be the best on the hardwood.

    I grew up in an area of the country where there is a dearth of professional sports, where allegiances varied depending on who you asked. Then Casey Calvary tipped in the missed runner from Quentin Hall, and the little school in nearby Spokane became March Magic.

    Then the coach left, and it cast seeds of doubt on the future of the program. A soft spoken, first time head coach took over. They lost some big games in the non conference season, and the question of whether they’d continue the Cinderella story were in doubt. I kept watching when I could, but in those days games weren’t always on. The initial run of success delivered two more Sweet Sixteens.

    The latter of which was led by future NBA heart throb, Dan Dickau. His curly, dyed hair inspired me to have my mom perm and dye my hair to lesser results. Zag hair has been a thing ever since.

    There were disappointments along the way, but they also held some of my favorite players to grace the court. Blake Stepp, Cory Violette, and, especially Ronny Turiaf. They almost beat a stacked Arizona team in a game which ranks among the tops of that first decade.

    The Zags also provided me sparks of happiness when things in my life weren’t going so well. I’ll never forget that Richie Frahm scored 31 points in the NBA the night my dad almost died in a car accident. Indeed, I lived and breathed by the success of this team as a way to deal hardships of life.

    Then a skinny, diabetic with a Che Guevara attitude and a bad mustache started scoring buckets in ways that reminded people of Larry Legend. Adam Morrison led a team looked prime to break past further, and the conversations were raging on whether they could do it. And they looked ready to do so, but then they crumpled in a way I had never imagined a Zags team would. The loss was hard, and the incoming talent just wasn’t the kind on which dreams are made.

    But I still followed, and hoped that maybe they’d find that next group of hidden gems, and build a talented mix that could again inspire those dreams of dancing until the end. Inevitably, it felt like every year they had one or two guys who had developed over their careers who could play with anyone. The roster just needed more of them.

    And more and more of them started coming. The fire was there, but the question of breaking the ceiling remained. Were they stuck in mediocrity?

    As all this was happening, I worked for various people in bars and restaurants, and I always wished I could find that organization that would mirror doing things the right way. Too often the bar was set low, and there is nothing fulfilling about passing a low bar.

    And then it happened, they had a team that won some tough games but also obliterated good teams on its way to the precipice of greatness. They just couldn’t stay king on that mountain, and the devastation of loss stung more than ever. And the cast of Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins decided that they were only in for a solitary run.

    Getting that close changed something though, and suddenly it seemed inevitable that the Zags would land a wonder kid by the name of Jalen Suggs. While many fans hated the idea that the program might turn to talent only committed to a single season, the dreams of deep dancing did only increase. And then they handled Kansas before being challenged by West Virginia. Jalen Suggs rolled his ankle, and it felt like maybe the season was done just as it was starting. But then he came back, and so did the Zags. And they won and won and won.

    There have been challenges by teams who beat other good teams, but the doubters said they played only weak teams despite their hefty early load. But Baylor was winning too, and they were mostly 1 and 2.

    And now here we are once again on the edge, but an edge that I never had dreamed of. I’ve always wanted to see the Zags break through and win that championship to prove that a little school with coaches committed to playing the right way while running things properly could finally break through. And now they have a chance not only of winning that first championship, but to go from mere mortal champions to the legendary status of doing it without blemish. There hasn’t been a perfect season in over 40 years, and a dream beyond my dreams is right ahead. I am inspired.

    Win or lose, I’ve loved cheering this team on, and I’ll continue to do so. Not just out of habit, but because I appreciate the foundation of success that Mark Few has established with his coaches and so many amazing players over the years. Win or lose, I will continue to love the Zags. I’ll be cheering them on and on because they’ll always be proof that doing things the right way can and will pay off.

    I sit here now and I still believe that one day I might be able to accomplish my dreams. I’m inspired by what I’ve seen from the Zags, and I hope one day soon that the hard work I’ve put into my trades and life theories begin to materialize in success beyond what I’ve seen. Maybe even someday I’ll experience my own perfect season. To be continued...
    Last edited by Malastein; 04-05-2021 at 11:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,949

    Default

    Awesome, Mal - thanks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    1,743

    Default

    Beautiful. Thank you! And enjoy Indianapolis!
    Your children have been placed in the custody of...Carl's Jr.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,654

    Default

    Thanks, Mal, that was inspiring.

    I'm so excited for the players today, they will remember this day for the rest of their lives (so will a lot of us).

    What a ride.............

    Go ZAGS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,922

    Default

    Mal, great post. Many of us through the years have lived what you have said. Thanks for the post

    Go ZAGS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Side
    Posts
    6,230

    Default

    Great post mal!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Just north of I-80
    Posts
    48,538

    Default

    Win or lose, I’ve loved cheering this team on, and I’ll continue to do so. Not just out of habit, but because I appreciate the foundation of success that Mark Few has established with his coaches and so many amazing players of the years. Win or lose, I will continue to love the Zags. I’ll be cheering them on and on because they’ll always be proof that doing things the right way can and will pay off.
    Well said, Mal. I suspect most-- if not all-- Zags share this view. Thanks for taking the time to collect and share your thoughts with the rest of us diehards. #GoZags


    The GUB Resource Library: Stats, Blogs, Brackets, & More. . .

    “They go to school. They do their homework. They shake hands. They say please and thank you. But once you throw that ball up, they will rip your heart out and watch you bleed.” -- Jay Bilas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,346

    Default

    Thanks to everyone who read and responded with positivity!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •