Postseason - You've Got It!
It wasn't quite that long ago that the Rutgers men's Basketball team was selected to finish 13th of 14 teams by the Big East's coaches. With no true PG, without a bona fide C manning the middle in a conference historically known for its big men, and perhaps most importantly, without the quality depth so apparent at most successful programs, is it any wonder Rutgers was deemed easy-picking by everyone even remotely familiar with the program?
Fast forward to Wednesday, March 17th, 2004. The site is one of the greatest places to watch a college basketball game in the entire country, a place so regarded not by partisan followers of Rutgers, but by outsiders (see CollegeHoopsNet for an example) who long to enjoy the passion so obviously reveled in by thousands that fill up the stands of the RAC.
As fans, we face two choices:
We can wallow, brood, abstain, and refrain from anything to do with Rutgers basketball. Of course, it may be best to consider the consequences of this action, both as individuals and as groups. By shunning this opportunity, there are two groups, one primary and one secondary, we are targeting, whether by design or not. The primary group is the team itself. We are all aware of the significant advantage this team has had on its home-court. This advantage is due in large part to the festive and noisy atmosphere that has become synonymous with the RAC. It is due to fans like you who go to each and every home game, who cheer loudly, joyfully, with dignity and pride. Without the strongly devoted the RAC-mosphere is absent. The second [perhaps unintentional] target of this action impacts those prospective Rutgers recruits that have our University on their short list of potentials. We only need to remember how many times this year's Junior (football) recruits have mentioned fans' obvious devotion while attending Rutgers Junior Day. Was this devotion real or was it fickle? This our chance to decide.
Do we have an effect? Absolutely.
We can, as individuals and as groups, wipe out our short-term memories by recalling our desires at the beginning of this season. What we wished for was a post-season - any post-season. Well, we've got it! Now it's our time to enjoy it. You may remember the greatness of the RAC this year and in years past as evidence of great performances that have occurred here...and that are likely to continue. We can choose to remember Herve's winner against Providence this year, the same Friar team that has beaten Illinois and Syracuse, that has won at Connecticut and Virginia...we can remember Herve's miracle against last year's National Champions, the University of Syracuse...in one of the most fearless efforts we can remember a bloodied Rob Hodgson willing Rutgers to a 3 point victory against Syracuse...or Rob's perfect performance in a rout of West Virginia...and perhaps, etched in stone as no other game, the 1989 Atlantic-10 Championship versus Penn St. Were you there for that? Can you recall the spine-tingling chills?
Do we have an effect? Absolutely!
We are presented with an opportunity to write another verse in the storied chapter of the RAC. Another opportunity to show our collective loyalty, dedication, and fanaticism. A verse will be written tomorrow - which one will depend on whether we choose to be there. Whether we as fans decide to shine and shimmer, to stimulate and to embolden. Where will you be Wednesday, March 17th, 2004 7:30PM? I know where I will be. Supporting my alma-mater. Cheering louder than ever before. I hope to see you there.
Mike and the Big Dog's LLC