Yesterday at game time, I sat at my desk, unable to get away from work quite yet, Bob Rondeau giving his usual pre-game chatter, and I had a feeling that I frequently get before Husky football games, but rarely before basketball games. It’s hard to describe, a nervousness that everyone has surely experienced, and I think it comes from knowing that the next few hours will become memories and a part of life. That sounds overly important, sports are just a game, so on and so forth, and ultimately, what happens on the court or field isn’t that important to my life. For those playing or coaching, it might mean a lost job or change in career trajectory, but for me, there’ll just be some sadness or disappointment or joy and whatever memories I take away from it.
It’s those memories that are important, so much more important than the game or results itself. They are just some memories among many others, but they are a part of life. Any sports fan can rattle off his strongest memories of games the way a music lover remembers concerts or a parent remembers times with his child. For me, it’s Edgar’s 1995 playoff grand slam at my friend Dustin’s house, me alone on the couch while everyone else was off doing something else. Falling asleep as a kid on my birthday with an Apple Cup on TV and a new baseball glove on my hand. Watching the two UConn losses, the first in a church and the second in a bar. A thousand moments at Husky Stadium: Corey Dillon running wild in the pouring rain, Santana Moss losing the ball, high fives with my dad, walking on the field looking for Andrew and Rachel after the USC win in a sea of joy and astonishment.
A game like yesterday’s is hard because there was very little worth remembering. After one of the most memorable seasons in their history, the Huskies just got beat. They didn’t play well, they didn’t compete, they didn’t respond when challenged. It was a tough way for Quincy, one of their all-time great players and people, to leave. It was a tough way to end a season that was alternately frustrating and exhilarating.
So I’ll leave the game breakdown to a fellow Good Guy here or elsewhere. I don’t have much to say. Anyone who’s watched this team could tell you what went wrong. This game wasn’t right for this season. This season was fast breaks and the whole team on the floor for a loose ball, MBA hook shots and dunks, Justin Holliday’s long arms and Elston Turner’s late season threes. It was Isaiah becoming a basketball player and the leader of the team, and Venoy hounding Derek Glasser one last time. It was a talented group of guys becoming one of the most exciting teams to watch I’ve ever seen, even if it started too late and ended too soon. And it was Quincy Pondexter doing everything, making every shot, and it was especially Quincy dropping the game winner against Marquette. It was a season worth remembering.