Reminder: College Sports Are Awesome

Rich Barnes

There's a lot of sleazy things going on in the world of sports, but don't forget why we love them.

I'm nothing if not full of snark. Something I've known for years but was certainly reinforced earlier this morning.

Someone who runs the Twitter account for Pittsburgh hoops decided to get Panthers fans talking by showcasing some of the program's recent successes. A "pump-up-the-fans" harmless tweet, and I had to rain on the parade by reminding everyone of this:


Snark, pure and simple; exactly why Twitter was invented, right? Hell, with so many negative story lines involving the NCAA - like this one and this one and this one - it's tough not be a little whinny. Sports reporters have become court stenographers the last few weeks, for crying out loud.

But for every cloud there is a silver-snarkless lining.

I know, right? Forget trolling random Twitter accounts, that shot was a-freakin'-mazing. At the time none of us could stop watching that highlight. There even was discussion of Tyler Ennis' game winner being the biggest shot in Syracuse regular season history! But with the way the season closed out, I think it's easy to kind of forget about Ennis' playing IceMan, super hero with the power to beat clocks and Panthers.

I mean, if that shot isn't the perfect embodiment of college hoops, I don't know what could be? It's like a world full of bogeys with that one chip-in for birdie that keeps you coming back. The fact a play like that could happen in the first place, in any sport, is why we watch.

Not quite like Ennis' shot, but still a dramatic win to give Syracuse its third bowl win in the last four years. Terrel Hunt taking off for the endzone and simultaneously sending Orange fans into celebrating the present while thinking about the future; another amazing play.

Sports can be boiled down that "moment" where you almost feel some form of validation for investing your time in watching. Actually, that "moment" can sometimes be a collection of "moments."


Hot damn, what an ending! That last minute was exhausting and exalting.

Ennis' shot, Hunt's scramble and a last second brilliant feed from Kevin Rice to Dylan Donahue are the Syracuse versions of nirvana from the last year.

Sure, Debbie Downer can dismiss the win at Pittsburgh because the season ended so poorly. She could also write off the win over Minnesota because, after all, it was just the Texas Bowl. The victory over the Blue Devils in the ACC semis in men's lacrosse? Followed up by a loss to Notre Dame two days later Debbie could point out.

That's the snark side of life, the one that hears of television contracts and athletes being treated like pawns rather than people. All important issues, but all on the outside looking in when it comes to why we watch, why we care. And it's not like this is just a Syracuse-centric thing, by the way. A fan of any team, even those Panthers, could substitute their own viral videos from this or any season gone by.

That's what makes sports so great: there's a million chill-inducing memories happening in any game at any given time. You suspend belief so often fiction becomes factual. Which is why it's important, while sifting through the dirt of this offseason summer, to not forget what's waiting for us in just a few short weeks. Of course, there'll be plenty of more snark ahead too, but every so often we'll forget about that...for a moment or two.

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