FanPost

Finding Your Happy Place

Author's note: I wrote this email to my SU basketball listserv after the game. It was meant to make my friends feel better. It made me feel better. I hope it does the same for those of you out there who are still hurting...

I'm not ready to discuss and/or relive the game tonight. I can't read anyone's emails, nor do I have the strength to write one about the game. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in a couple days.

In the mean time, I just watched the SU's 20 greatest moments DVD. I got it the day before the tournament started and was saving it for a time I really needed it. Well, I needed it tonight, turned it on immediately after the game. And you know what, I'm feeling surprisingly okay after watching it. You all know it ends with the National Championship game... and damn that feels good to watch, so did Gerry's run, and the 6OT game, but perhaps the thing that really started making me feel better was watching the SU/Georgia '96 tournament game segment. I always think about Wallace's shot and of course I remembered Cipolla's shot, but I'd forgotten about the end of that game. Z, who couldn't shoot to save his life, hit two 3's in a row, but with less than 3 seconds left, SU was still down by 2. Boeheim calls a timeout and correctly guesses that Georgia would be keying on Z, so he has Wallace inbounds the ball (from around half court) and he HEAVES it across the court, through traffic, to Cipolla; he catches, fades away, and buries the shot to send it into overtime. And the rest is history...

Watching that moment reminded me why I endure the pain and frustration of loving a team so damn much. I found myself screaming as I re-watched the highlight. It took me back to the game, watching with my friend Kristen, in my TV room, my parents downstairs (had turned off the game when we got behind), and then they heard us going nuts, absolutely nuts. I'd just turned 14 like 3 days earlier, and I already loved SU basketball, but that game, that comeback, those two shots, that was when I was all-in. I remember my buddy Gerber had his bar mitzvah the day after that Georgia game, the rabbi wore an orange tie, discussed SU in his sermon, and I think we prayed for them. And then at the Bar Mitzvah party, there's a home video of me, the littlest guy in the room back then, being hoisted onto all my friends' shoulders (Gerber the Hamburgler was a little too fat for anyone to pick up) and I'm crowd surfing as we all sang, "Cuse is in the house ohmigod, ohmigod, Cuse is in the house ohmigod!" Just the happiest f'ing kids on the face of the earth. This was before drugs or alcohol, but we were absolutely hammered on SU basketball.

And that's what it's all about. Most of the time things don't end well. And when you replay them in your head, it drives you crazy. And it's easy to say, this could've been special, this could've been one of those moments and be pissed that it wasn't. And if you want to feel like crap for a while, by all means dwell on that. But if you want to not be devastated, and this is perhaps the most adult thing I've ever said (including asking my wife to marry me), find that happy memory (the Block, the Run, not ten f'ing games, 6 OT's, Warrick tea-bagging Royal Ivey, Flynn dunking on Rosario, whatever), find that happy memory and hold onto it, squeeze it, love it, don't let it go. Because as painful as tonight was, it's just another moment that's going to make us all appreciate the next time we get to experience a brand new Top-20 moment, and while we don't when or how that moment will occur, it will occur, and when it does, the pain we felt earlier tonight, is going to help make that moment even sweeter.

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