As this issue is being printed I have 365 days left in my twenties. For all of you who have already passed this landmark you are probably saying, "so what? Life doesn't end at 30 kid." I know that, but it is still kind of a big deal.
In your 20s you can still be a kid. My girlfriend is 32. She gets the "when are you getting married?" question all the time. At 28 I always get "are you thinking of getting married soon?" The question is essentially the same, but there is less pressure in "thinking of."
As a kid I assumed I'd be married with kids by 29. Of course I also thought I'd be in my fifth year as the starting second baseman for the Kansas City Royals after leading the Wildcats to four straight College World Series appearances. By 14 it was apparent that I couldn't hit the curve ball, and now the Kansas City Royals play second fiddle to the Diamondbacks in terms of rooting interest.
Birthdays always make me reflect. I realized that the Wildcats have been part of my life since I was a small child. My first basketball game was in the Freddie Snowden era. Granted I remember very little of a close game between the Cats and Kansas State, but I clearly remember being confused
when my dad told me that the Wildcats were playing the Wildcats. It wasn't until sometime during the player introductions that I realized that Arizona wasn't playing Arizona and that the other team did indeed show up.
I remember having my ninth and 10th birthday parties at Icecats games. I'd also have my 22nd and 23rd birthdays at Icecat games. The difference is that when I was nine I liked the fights and the nachos. When I was 22 it was the
fights and the beers.
I've been fortunate enough to see some great moments in school history in person. I was at the game where Sean Elliot broke the Pac-10 scoring record.
I saw Sean Rooks beat Oklahoma on a late bucket. I went to the 1994 Final Four only to be heartbroken by the Arkansas Razorbacks. I've been to the
Fiesta Bowl where the Cats beat Miami and the Holiday Bowl where they beat Nebraska. I saw them beat top-ranked Washington at Arizona Stadium.
I also recall a lot of great moments on TV and radio. I remember crouching next to a radio to listen to the final outs when the Wildcats won their last College World Series title. I remember holding the rabbit ears on the television to try and tune in the old channel 11 to see a Wildcat basketball game, where these two freshmen named Elliott and Cook were starting. And of
course I remember standing in front of the television in '97 in utter disbelief when the Wildcats were actually going to win a national championship.
By my best guess I have been a Wildcat fan for 24 years. I've probably been< a rabid fan for just over 20. Here's hoping that it is just a start. Twenty-four years down and hopefully at least 48 more to go. My goal is for students at McKale in 2040 to say, "Look at that blue hair, he sure can yell."