I’ll cut to the chase: yesterday was one of the most incredible days. Less than 24 hours after our team punched their ticket to the Big Dance, and won its 22nd straight game, I’m still trying to digest everything that was March 12, 2017.
I’ve never felt disconnected, by any means, to our program since I graduated. But actually being back for – we’ll call it ‘round two’ – and having a front row seat to history, has almost left me shell-shocked.
I never played at the state tournament in high school. I played in two championship games during my time at Drake but we lost both times. So half of the “head-spinning-this-has-to-be-a-dream” stems from that – but the other half?
It’s watching something you’ve believed in for so long come to fruition.
And it doesn’t even matter I wasn’t the one storming the floor or the one hoisting up the championship trophy. What matters is that I got to watch it unfold. All those times I dreamed about winning a championship, going to the NCAA Tournament and cutting down the nets came true yesterday. I take no credit for what led up to it, but it came true.
I’ve come to realize that witnessing someone else fulfill your dream is one of the most humbling experiences in the world. So humbling, I wish everyone could hop into the ESPN3 replay of our championship game and be a wallflower to see for themselves exactly what it feels like.
It’s also one of the most rewarding experiences. I struggle to even articulate exactly how and why it feels this way, but I am certain there are few things sweeter than watching your second family, some of whom are former teammates, do what you never got to do.
As crazy or backwards as that might sound, it just means they carried on your belief. It means that belief and dream that I once had as a player needed some extra time to blossom – but even deeper than that, it took exactly the right amount of time.
Nothing about this season has been too early or too late. It’s been right on time.
It is impossible not to get reflective after a year like this one: a regular season championship, tournament championship, the longest win streak in Missouri Valley history, the second longest active win streak in the NCAA behind Connecticut, the first time any team in the MVC has ever finished the conference season unscathed.
I could go on and on. The amount of joy I’ve gotten to see in other people this season lights a fire in me. And the joy reaches beyond our team and staff – but to administration, family, friends and our one-in-a-million fan base.
Championships… Banners… Cutting nets…. Championship rings… This is the level of success we hope finds us as competitors. But I know damn well what we wear, hold, hang and cut rings empty without the right people to share it with.