When the Syracuse Orange advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, a whole bunch of people started talking about gravy. I didn't like it. And now that we've seen the Orange make it all the way to the Final Four, I stand by that belief. And I'm someone who was supremely disappointed following the loss.
But you know what, it's okay that I was disappointed and it was okay that you were disappointed. That's how you know you care. If you weren't disappointed, I'm not quite sure what you're doing here.
In the comments to my immediate post-game recap, someone said I sounded like an old man barking from my porch about those damn kids on my lawn. The insinuation being, "hey, we played a bad game. Get over it." In the grand scheme of things, yes, I will get over it. I'm already starting to. And by Sunday, I was even beginning to feel the disappointment move on to the next phase, acceptance and appreciation for the season as a whole.
However, it's okay to be bummed out by the loss. If you wanted to take a walk, go kick something (inanimate), or drown your sorrows, I don't see any issue there. That's the point of all this. What is the point of being a sports fan if you don't get overjoyed when your team wins and disappointed when they lose? Not kill-yourself-with-a-wrench disappointment, but, what-could-have-been disappointed. Otherwise, you're just a robot, or Darren Rovell.
In what felt like minutes of the Final Four loss to the Michigan Wolverines, Bud Poliquin put up his annual, "this loss doesn't mean the season was a failure" column. When I saw it was up, it annoyed me. Not the column itself, there's a place for that column and everything in it. But I think that place is Monday. Because to put it up immediately following the game was a passive-aggresive way to tell me that I'm not allowed to be disappointed. It was like your parent thinking they're giving you advice when they're actually trying to control you.
Now that it's been a few days and most Syracuse fans have either left Atlanta or are on their way, I think we're finally putting enough space between the emotions of the game and emotions of the season as a whole. As a body of work, this was a great Syracuse basketball season. Clearly, this wasn't the "best" team of the last four years, but it's the one we'll remember for going to the Final Four. Can't take that away from these guys or Boeheim.
So if you were upset on Saturday, don't feel bad about it. If you were the one immediately talking about how you shouldn't be upset or how they didn't deserve to get this far anyway, I think you're deluding yourself (and/or have some internal issues regarding allowing yourself to feel pain/disappointment). Today? We can talk about how this team exceeded expectations no problem. No one should still be down on these guys and we should remember them as befitting a Final Four team.
It's gravy time.