In what was unargueably the best night of my college experience thus far…scratch that…of my life, IU upsets Number 1 Kentucky with a 3-pointer game winning shot by Christan Watford to win 73-72. We all know this by now. We have all read the stories. Seen the videos. Given each other high fives. Drank to oblivion. Romp the streets of Bloomington in elation. But with all of that, with all of the excitement and the celebration…I’m still unable to put into words my feelings at Assembly hall on December 10, 2011.
I had balcony seats, but I knew that it would be nothing to be upset about. I knew Assembly Hall would be anything less than pumped up, seeing as a group of students took the efforts to camp out starting on Tuesday. No, the balcony was just as energized and loud as the GA section. Why? Because It’s Indiana. Assembly Hall is the largest student section in the country. The best student section in the country. Proof of that could be seen in the countless videos. and by the amount of noise that came out of that building last night. I still have ringing in my ears.
Twenty-four hours ago I was standing in my seat at Assembly Hall. Today I’m pinching myself to make sure I’m awake. All through the night students and the town of Bloomington celebrated. It’s back. Indiana Basketball is back. Brice Fox and Daniel Webber were right when they told us to “follow Tom Crean, he’s going to take us back to greatness.” They were right.
After a high energized first half IU went into halftime up by one over the Wild Cats. When the clock hit 0.00 at the end of the game IU won by one. After the ball left Watford’s hand and floated ever so gracefully into the basket I stopped breathing. I turned to my left with tears in my eyes as Colleen and I leaped into each others arms. After three long years of being a student at IU and being a faithful IU basketball fan a night like last night will be something I will absolutely never forget.
I’m so happy for all the players, every single one of them, for this moment and for what they have accomplished. For the coaches, the Athletic Department employees, those who have been with IU through all the ups and the downs, the sports writers, the announces, and of course the students. This is Indiana. (Side note: to anyone who sold their ticket to make money…jokes on you.)
Reading the articles today from Bob Kravitz at the Indianapolis Star, Terry Hutchens at the Indianapolis Star, Jerod Morris with Midwest Sports Fan, Justin Albers with Inside Indiana, Jeff Goodman with CBSSports, and so on, I got tears in my eyes. Perhaps it is my incredible lack of sleep over the past week (after a 22nd birthday on Monday, exams, work, and traveling to Broad Ripple for a Smirnoff launch party) but my emotions have been running high ever since. At approximately 7:32pm last night I sent my Mom a picture of the court and all the students on it. She assured me she saw it happening on ESPN. I stood peering down, smiling, shaking, sore throat, head pounding, but pleasantly holding up 3 fingers, as an ode to Kentucky fans.
You like to celebrate every three pointer made….Yeah, so do we. (If you are unsure what I’m referring to please take the time to read this Mark Titus article on Grantland —> The Tar Heels have No Interest in Defense (And other Observations from North Carolina-Knetucky.)
Nights like last night are why becoming a Hoosier and coming to IU was and will always be the best decision I made in my life. Not only the success, not only the energy, not only the countless times we sang the fight song, but because this unifies a campus. Brings us all together. Encourages us all to remember just how blessed and fortunate we are to be Hoosiers. We, as students, created a memory last night that will not be replaced.
“This is one of the most shared moments, maybe the most shared moment I’ve ever been a part of,” Crean said. “You want to share it with so many people.”
Yes Coach, yes we do.
This game, this night, this team, this shot, this school….this is why I’m a sports fan.
Additional Links to videos dealing with last night: