"For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been!'" Whittier's words ring true, well over a century later.
SU lost last night to a better Butler team. (Butler? Yes, them and their coach who wasn't even BORN when Boeheim began coaching!) They committed fewer errors and hadn't lost since december of 2009. (Butler, who plays where The Hoosiers was filmed - that Butler.) The photos in the paper today of Wes Johnson with his shirt covering his face, the description of AO and others sobbing. What might have been.....
In a year of upsets, SU was upset instead of being the "upsetter." That should have been left to the Big Red, aka Cornell, that team without scholarships and with a lot of brains. They tried - Bob said to wake him up if they got close in the second half and they came within 6 points, but Kentucky swatted them away. Kentucky - who beat SU...etc. etc.
There in the first game at the Dome, the game we caught only glimpses of while SU was getting throttled, was the University of Washington, my team from back in Seattle days. They could have upset West Virginia, but they didn't. It would have been nice.
What a day it was! Jim at the post office wore his orange over a long sleeved red shirt, I wore orange and sported purple earrings for UW, Alex made it home just in time for the SU game and he and Rachel wore the brilliant orange striped and polka-dotted socks I had sent them. Even Koko wore her SU sweater. All to no avail.
What might have been was a National Championship which would have shown that a bunch of talented kids who have learned to respect each other and play unselfishly, and respect their coaches could be rewarded for their efforts. And maybe it still means that - Butler seems that way, and they earned the right to go on. What might have been was the sheer joy of cities and an area coming together to cheer on their teams - both SU and Cornell.
But that's all right. For some - Andy, AO, probably Wes - there is no other chance. The seniors on that Cornell team will be gone, too, to careers not involving sports most likely, as the NCAA commercials tell us. The players who stay will build on this experience. Maybe next year.....
It was a great year, one that will be remembered for a very long time, at least by this writer! I'll put it away for now, in some drawer of Orange memories, and take it out on occasion and then finally some day be able to think of "What Was" and be forever grateful that I was there.