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Westsider Rider

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Once again I was strung along only to get my heart stomped on

I had been told to give up on this season and this team but I didn't listen. I will never give up on a Michigan team and I wasn't ready to do it now, even with the deck stacked against us. For me, it had been the game I was waiting for since I got to Michigan back in 1999. Throughout my four years at Michigan there were big games but nothing like this. With everything on the line, at home against the #1 team in the country, with a potential NCAA berth on the line it was time to get the job done as it is closing in on a full decade since Michigan made it to the Big Dance.

For 36 minutes this team did everything it needed to pull off the upset. Guys hustling for rebounds, Brent Petway diving on the floor to get a loose ball to Jerret Smith, things I had yet to see this season from our team. As the game was played I started to believe more and more as we took the 3 point lead into halftime. Our guys would make some big plays and take a small lead, Ohio State would chip away at it, but this time, unlike previous big games Michigan did not fall apart. They made the buckets they needed and would give us some extra cushion. Then, after 36 great minutes of basketball it fell apart, as it always does for this team and this program. When Courtney Sims got the and 1 which gave us a 6 point lead with less than 4 minutes to play I could taste it, although I still had the doubt in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, that doubt was right. In typical Michigan fashion, Ohio State closed with a 10-0 run and took the game and stomped all over me in the process.

I don't know what it is, maybe it is a curse. But for Courtney to blow the game tying dunk, then Dion Harris going for a 1 and 1 and missing the first one which would've tied the game is just, I can't even come up with the word for it. I don't think I have ever been as overcome with emotion over a Michigan basketball game. When football season is around I'm like this every game but for basketball after all the years of losing I've gotten used to blowing games like this. Throughout my years of watching Michigan basketball I am always worried about what's going to go wrong at the end of games and they proved it right again today.

I'm always one that wears my emotions on my sleeve, especially for sports. I know I've got some sort of problem as each win and loss is so big for me and I've tried to tone it down which I have the past few years. But this was just too much to stomach. I don't know when I'll get over this loss, probably when Michigan makes the tourney again, hopefully that happens sometime in my lifetime because the way we're going I don't see it happening in the upcoming future. The administration has to make a commitment to the basketball program. We cannot say that we are just a football school. There is no reason why Michigan cannot take its place among the nations best in Football and Basketball like we did in the early 90's. But there must be the support from the school but I just don't see it there for basketball and it's just something that will not be fixed. Without the team winning the school will not put more money into the program but without putting more money into the program it will be impossible to the players necessary to win games. When I went down to Austin I couldn't believe their facilities, it's no wonder they can attract top flight talent in every sport. So now I sit here once again, another season in the books, another season I have to say wait til next year. I don't know how much longer I can wait.

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