The end of an era

On Wednesday night I officially played for my last BU sporting event as a student. With a heavy heart, I played the last four notes of Go BU, packed up my clarinet and walked out of Agganis Arena. It’s crazy to think that four years ago I made the decision to join pep band and now it’s all over. I never imagined what kind of crazy adventures it would have taken me on. There were countless trips to the TD Garden, a trip to New York City to play in Madison Square Garden, playing in a Foster the People concert, and so much more.

It wasn’t the best season to go out to, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. My last men’s hockey game was a weekend sweep of Northeastern and their first road win of the entire season after traveling across the country all year to watch them play. The women’s team went out on top again as the Hockey East Champions, but unfortunately lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament against a dominant Minnesota team. Women’s basketball lost in the Patriot League Quarterfinals after beating Loyola in the first round of the tournament.

It was men’s basketball that gave us the best run for our money this year, a sport I really didn’t care about until this year. And now I write this while watching my sixth basketball game of the day and shuffling through the five different brackets I filled out. Who knew Boston University basketball could give me March madness?

The month began with a trip out to Holy Cross where the Terriers won 68-64 and the regular season Patriot League title their first year in the conference. This was the same weekend of the aforementioned sweep of Northeastern in hockey and will probably go down as one of the best weekends in BU sports that I’ve experienced in my life. Unfortunately, the hockey team went on to lose their next game in the play-in round of the Hockey East tournament to Notre Dame, but the BU basketball was just getting started.

They entered the Patriot League tournament seeded first and demolished both Lafayette and Army in the first two rounds, scoring 91 points each night. The championship game, however, was a different story. BU put up only 36 points in the entire game as they were completely shut down by American University’s defense. Arguably the best basketball team, this senior class has seen at BU had to settle for the National Invitational Tournament. Had they won, they more than likely would have been seeded 14th and I would’ve gotten to see my two favorite basketball teams, the Terriers and the Orange, go at it in the first round of the NCAA tournament. But there was no miraculous repeat of 2011 and instead I got to watch one more game in Agganis Arena.

All things considered, watching BU go up by 17 points against a Big 10 school was a good way to end my pep band career.  Even though the Terriers went on to lose to the Fighting Illini, it was a much better last game than watching them put up a pathetic 36 points against a team they had beaten a few weeks before. I still found myself tearing up as I struggled to sing Go BU one last time, but it was a fitting end. I may have witnessed my last game as a student, but BU athletics hasn’t seen the last of me. And hey…there’s always next year.

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The key to bringing college basketball excitement to Boston

Today marks the official start of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Sports fans across the country have finally submitted their brackets after days of tweaking and debating for a chance at a billion dollars and bragging rights at the office. There’s one region of the country, however, that is less than excited for the next two and a half weeks of college basketball. There isn’t much for the people of Boston or the greater New England area to root for in the tournament.

At the beginning of the season, the TD Garden hosted three opening day face-offs, including Boston University vs. Northeastern, UMASS vs. Boston College, and Holy Cross vs. Harvard. Six Boston-area basketball teams playing back-to-back in one of the most historic arenas in the country and the Garden barely reached half capacity.

The highlight of the year for college basketball in Boston was Boston College’s takedown of No. 1, undefeated Syracuse, a team that then went on to lose five of their last seven games. Overall, BC had a miserable season in the ACC going 4-14 in conference and losing in the first round of the tournament to Georgia Tech in overtime. Even Boston University had a better run, making it to the championship game in the Patriot League and an appearance in the National Invitational Tournament.

Boston College made the NCAA tournament eight times in the 2000s, but has done nothing of any significance in the last five years, leaving Boston fans with little to get excited about come March Madness. And what about Boston University? They’ve gotten away with not having a solid basketball program for the past ten years, making the tournament only once in the past decade after winning the America East championship game. They had their best team in a long time this year, winning the Patriot League regular season title their first year in the league and advancing to the championship game. However, they still failed to garner much support and continually found themselves playing in front of a very empty Agganis Arena home crowd.

Harvard is arguably the best college basketball team in the Boston area. They’ve made the tournament three years in a row and dominated the Ivy League conference, becoming regular season champions four years in a row. However, they have yet to make it past the third round and the Boston market doesn’t get excited over Harvard basketball. Boston doesn’t slowly change into a sea of crimson like the shade of orange that has settled over all of Upstate New York.

Bostonians should expand their horizons to all of New England. Providence College robbed the Big East championship from No. 3 seeded Creighton to gain an 11th seed spot in the big tournament. The University of Connecticut is also a good choice for Bostonians to follow. They have made it to the NCAA tournament 16 of the last 20 years, including a win in 2011.

However, if Bostonians want a college basketball team to get behind, they need to look no farther than the state of Massachusetts. The University of Massachusetts dominated in the 1990s with seven tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four. They also won five Atlantic 10 conference championships in this time. While UMASS basketball has been irrelevant over the past decade, this year could mark a true turning point for the Minutemen. They started the season winning 16 of their first 17 games, including big wins over Nebraska, Saint Joe’s and eventual Big East champions Providence College. They finally found their way back to the tournament this season after going 23-7 in the regular season and will take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday at 2:45 p.m.

There isn’t a lot of promise on the horizon for college basketball in the city of Boston going forward. Players from New England are simply leaving the area to play in the Big 10 or SEC. No one wants to stay in the area to play in the Ivy League or Big East or sit at the bottom of the ACC. Additionally, Boston viewers don’t tune in to college hoops or make the trip out to the arenas. Empty seats stick out like sore thumbs in Conte Forum, Lavietes Pavilion and Agganis Arena.

Boston just isn’t a college sport town. It holds some of the best college hockey teams in the country and Bostonians still don’t buy into the college scene. Basketball needs a serious investment or it doesn’t stand a chance. When a city has three of their four professional sports teams making it to the championship or conference championship game in the past year, there’s no need for Boston fans to rally behind a mediocre college team. Another college basketball opening day in the TD Garden, however, is a step in the right direction to bring college hoops back to New England. If you can’t bring Boston pro sports fans to college basketball games, bring college basketball games to them.

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Bruins settled with mediocrity at the trade deadline

There was nothing wrong with the status quo in Boston, as the black and gold have been proving week after week they can win games even with their young defensive line and still hold on to a comfortable first place spot atop the Atlantic Division. However, with Dennis Seidenberg out for the rest of the year, it makes sense that the Bruins front office would seek out added depth on defense. That’s exactly what they walked away with at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon, but Peter Chiarelli and company could have walked away with much more.

Since Seidenberg went out with a season-ending ACL/MCL injury on December 27th against the Senators, the Bruins Goals Against Average has increased by .460 and their power play has gone from third best to the worst in the league as far as Power-Play Opportunities. Bruins acquisition Andrej Meszaros is certainly no replacement for Seidenberg in the Bruins lineup and their were better prospects within the Bruins grasp, but he is a sufficient addition to the B’s locker room and can help fill some of the holes that have developed in the Bruins defensive line over the season.

Meszaros was drafted in the first round by the Senators in 2004 and will add a lot to the Bruins blue line in terms of size, a solid left shot and strong skating. Meszaros also has the ability to play a lot of minutes, averaging over 19 minutes per game for the Slovakians at the Sochi Olympics. He could easily find himself as a part of the blue line core as Adam McQuaid’s quad injury continues to keep him out of the lineup. However, if McQuaid’s injury keeps him out for longer than the 2-3 weeks predicted by Chiarelli in Wednesday’s press conference, the Bruins could run into some problems with an inexperienced postseason player like Meszaros.

There were several defensive names allegedly floating around the Bruins front office leading up to the trade deadline, including Christian Ehrhoff, Andrew MacDonald and Chris Phillips. MacDonald was traded to the Flyers on Tuesday for a 2014 third-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round draft pick, more than the Bruins needed to give up for the 27-year-old veteran with very little postseason experience. With Meszaros, the Bruins didn’t have to give more than they were willing to give up, namely a solid prospect like Ryan Spooner.

However, the Bruins could have benefitted from a guy like Ehrhoff who has put up more points this season than both Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. He also has a lot of postseason experience, including a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 that they eventually lost to the Bruins. A guy like Ehrhoff would be more suitable to handle the Thomas Vanek situation.

Just prior to the trade deadline, it was confirmed that the Islanders would be trading Vanek, who is known for having great success against the Bruins, to the Montreal Canadiens for a conditional second-round draft pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg. The Bruins have historically struggled against the Canadiens in the postseason and have already lost both games in the series to their division rivals this season. The Bruins face the Habs again on Wednesday night and will have the opportunity to see if Vanek’s dominant streak against them continues in a Canadiens uniform. Vanek has 30 goals and 61 points against the Bruins in 53 career games with 25 of his points coming on the power play. The B’s will have to prove that the young defensemen and Meszaros can fill the hole left by Seidenberg not only on the blue line, but also on the penalty kill.

The Bruins haven’t been able to defeat the Canadiens or quiet Vanek with the defense they have so far this season, but perhaps more defensive depth will be the secret. However, Ehrhoff has more experience to pull off this feat. Especially with Martin St. Louis moving to the Rangers and rumors of Ryan Kesler potentially going to the Penguins, the Bruins could use more solid defenders to fight off these offensively tough conference rivals.

Instead, the Bruins obtained Corey Potter and Meszaros. Potter, the Bruins other Wednesday acquisition, has spent most of his career in the AHL and is very unlikely to put up any significant minutes in Boston. On top of the fact that Meszaros is more inexperienced, he comes out of Philadelphia where he’s used to playing man-on-man defense and being thrown into the Bruins zone defense. In retrospect, the Bruins may not have done enough to alleviate the threat that Vanek could provide Boston with the Canadiens come Wednesday or the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the start of the summer.

The Bruins haven’t seen their last trade though. Chiarelli informed the media in Wednesday’s press conference the he had laid the groundwork for trades later on in the season. He feels comfortable with the forward depth with Jordan Caron and the players down in Providence, but the front office will most likely be striking more deals defensively as the season closes in on the playoffs.

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Tuukka Rask carries the Bruins to victory over the Rangers

It may have been Henrik Lundqvist’s birthday, but it was the goalie in white who was handing out presents Sunday night. Tuukka Rask held the Bruins in the game long enough for the offense to finally wake up and steal a win from the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Rask’s 39 saves propelled the Bruins to their first season sweep of the Rangers since the 1982-83 season

After allowing only nine goals in six games at the Sochi Olympics, Lundqvist allowed six against the Bruins offense in a 6-3 decision. The Bruins, who were 7-1-2 leading up to the Olympic Break, finally got back on track after dropping their first two games back against the Sabres and the Capitals.

It was a tale of two halves for the Bruins Sunday night as they got off to a rough start, playing one of their worst periods of hockey of the season. They suffered crippling defensive breakdowns throughout the first, allowing several Rangers odd-man rushes including a JT Miller breakaway goal just over three minutes into the game. Thanks to a heroic effort in goal by Rask, the B’s miraculously came out of the first period tied 1-1 after being outshot 12-1 in the first ten minutes of play.

Sloppy play and bad decisions continued for the Bruins defense throughout the first half of the game, forcing Rask to make spectacular save after spectacular save. The offense slept through the first 30 minutes of play as well. They had no control in the neutral zone, giving up several turnovers and failing to gain possession in their offensive zone.

The offense finally came alive in the second half of the game to score six goals on Lundqvist for the first time in franchise history. The Bruins scored three unanswered after New York took the early lead. Dougie Hamilton picked up a point on each, including a perfectly timed goal to lead off the second period off a great assist by Jarome Iginla who scored the equalizer at the end of the first.

While the defense continued to struggle with sloppy mistakes and slow play, the offense managed to maintain offensive zone possession and put up constant pressure against Lundqvist and the Rangers defense. This pressure paid off again as Carl Soderberg netted a rebound of a Hamilton shot to put the B’s up 3-1.

Brad Richards managed to pull the Rangers back within one seven minutes later after yet another bad turnover in the neutral zone. Richards gained the 2 on 1 rush off an assist from Callahan and beat Rask, who had been mostly flawless through 46 minutes of play, stick side.

By the third period the Bruins were off to the races, netting three more goals against the King. Gregory Campbell scored two back to back, including a shorthanded goal. Milan Lucic tipped in a Matt Barkowski shot with 1:32 to go in the game to hush the Madison Square Garden crowd for good just three minutes after Ryan McDonagh brought the Rangers back within two on a power-play goal.

Tuukka Rask proved that he was back and ready to play after a solid performance at the Sochi Games. He had something to prove after a rough first game back on Saturday afternoon where he gave up four goals to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. However, it was all Tuukka Sunday night as he single-handedly played defense just three days before the March 5th trade deadline that has been raising questions in the Boston media as to whether or not the front office should be giving the defense a closer look.

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In honor of senior night: Some much needed Thank Yous

Tonight marks the last Boston University hockey game that will be played at Agganis Arena while I am a student here. It is Senior Night at Agganis as well as Jack Parker night where we will all have the chance to honor our coach of 40 years one last time and retire his old number 6 forever. It’s going to be an emotional night for sure.

I still have over two and a half months before putting on my cap and gown and dealing with that emotional roller coaster, but hearing my name announced throughout Agganis Arena as a senior in the band tonight will be very emotional. BU hockey and BU bands have defined my time at Boston University. I’ve spent the majority of my time running back and forth from band and games. I have met my best friends who I will carry with me for the rest of my life through BU hockey and pep band. So thank you to all who have made this an amazing past four years and don’t worry, I will definitely be back in October cheering on both the team and the band from the alumni section.

Going into tonight there are a few people I would definitely like to thank for an unforgettable last four years that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

1. My Family

My family is the reason that I fell in love with sports and the city of Boston. My grandparents grew up in Wellesley and made sure that I was raised a Red Sox and Bruins fan through and through. Growing up in this environment led me back to this great city when it was time to start looking at colleges. However, I would have never even made it to BU without their support, both financially and emotionally. Moving from middle-of-nowhere Northern New York to a major city where you know no one is not an easy transition, but my family was always there for me when I needed someone to talk to or just a bus ticket home for the weekend.

2. Boston University Bands

I owe a lot to the BU Bands. My decision to join pep band ended up being hands down the best decision I ever made at BU. It brought me to hockey and to my friends and to four years full of traveling across the country to various hockey and basketball arenas. I’ve spent enough money traveling to away games these past couple of years, it’s been nice to be in band and get to go to all the home games for free and get to play and jam out with my friends week after week. Band has also forced me to get into basketball. So many of the things I now value began with the decision to join band. All fun aside, I’ve definitely grown as a musician as well. Aaron Goldberg and the entire BU Bands organization have made not only my musical experience but also my college experience what it is.

3. The Dog Pound

Oh, the Dog Pound. A crazy group of college kids who are willing to drop about a thousand dollars on tickets and transportation to BU hockey games throughout the school year. A weekend trip to Michigan back in October literally changed my life. I set out for the 12 hour drive in a car full of people I didn’t know to meet up in Michigan with 20 other people who I had only briefly met in passing. Needless to say, I was petrified. And it ended up being one of the best weekends of my senior year. It’s amazing how close you can come to a group of people just because you’re all crazy enough to embark on that adventure. Without the Dog Pound arranging these crazy trips I never would’ve have strayed from Agganis Arena and gone to my first away game in Durham, New Hampshire and I certainly wouldn’t have flown off to Notre Dame this past weekend.

Even with the team not performing the best, the hockey season is what you make of it and this crazy group of people have made it a truly amazing one for me. They pulled me out of my bubble and somehow convinced me it would be a good idea to hop in a car with complete strangers and drive across the Northeast. And for that I am forever grateful to them for their part in making this a truly special senior year.

4. The BU Hockey Team

Lastly, I owe a huge thank you to the Boston University hockey team, especially the seniors. It hasn’t been the best year to go out on for the Class of 2014, but it’s been an exciting four years. This team has proven to me time and time again that they can play with heart and leave everything they’ve got out on the ice. Even when playing the number 1 team in the country on the road, the Terriers still put up a fight and managed four goals against the Boston College Eagles for the 50+ students who traveled out to see them.

As I’ve said, some of my best memories from college center around BU hockey, including the 2012 Hockey East Quarterfinals that went into Game 3 of the series and two overtimes before Alex Chiasson of the Terriers knocked in the game winner. Or going down to Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey and watching the Terriers hold on to a stressful 3-2 victory over the Cornell Big Red. It would end up being one of the last wins we saw in the season, but who’s counting?

So here’s to Garrett Noonan, Jake Moscatel, Patrick MacGregor, Matt Ronan and Anthony Moccia. Good luck with whatever your future brings you and thank you for giving your all to BU hockey for the past four years. And to the rest of the team, we’ll see you in October for our best season yet!

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Answering the question “When will Tuukka finally show up?”

Everyone around Boston has heard this question asked hundreds of times over the past couple of months. When will the old Tuukka Rask finally show up? The Boston media is quick to write off a guy like Tuukka after a few bad performances. “But look at how good Chad Johnson has been playing,” they say. It’s time to lay off Rask and take a look at how well he’s actually been playing the past couple of months.

The Tuukka hate came to a head in his Olympic debut two weeks ago when he let up four goals on only twenty shots to Austria. It didn’t matter that the Fins won the game 8-4. Tuukka was being just as unreliable between the pipes as he had been for the Bruins over the last couple of months. But then something happened. All of a sudden Rask became the hero of the Finnish team. With Teemu Selanne putting the pucks in the opposing net and Tuukka preventing any from entering their own, the Fins breezed through the tournament and past the United States to walk home with the gold.

Rask ended the Games with a 3-0-1 record, a .921 Save Percentage and a 1.75 Goals Against Average. Those statistics sky rocket to a .957 SV% with a 0.75 GAA when that first game is factored out. He allowed only three goals in those last four games, including a shutout against Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk and the rest of the NHL’s finest playing for Team USA. The “TUUUUKK” chants started ringing out through Boston once again.

Now everyone is asking if Rask can bring his spectacular performance at the Olympics back with him to Boston. But what everyone fails to realize is that Tuukka’s been bringing this kind of performance to the Bruins for the past four months. He may not be pulling off the postseason heroics that Boston fans got to enjoy night after night during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs where he posted three shutouts, including two against the league-leading Penguins offense, a .940 SV% and a 2.09 GAA, but his numbers for this season aren’t far off.

Anyone can put up spectacular numbers for four games in the Olympics or 22 games in the most important four series of the year, but Rask has proven time and time again that he can back them up in the regular season. Rask’s record stands at 25-13-4 this season. He leads the league in shutouts with five and is in the top five in both Save Percentage and Goals Against Average with .928 SV% and 2.11 GAA. No other Olympic goalie is higher than him. So why the criticism?

He had a bad stretch before the Olympics, but still only lost six games in the month leading up to Opening Ceremonies. And the pre-Olympics slump for the Bruins’ cannot be put on Tuukka alone, the team struggled as a whole. Sure Rask is known for having somewhat of a hothead, but the Boston media runs away with the fact that he was pulled for the fourth time against the Montreal Canadians in favor of Johnson. No goalie is perfect every game and Rask has been a solid, consistent goaltender for the Bruins. No one thought anyone could be as good as Tim Thomas after he carried the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011, but Tuukka took that challenge and proved everyone wrong. Just two years later the B’s were back in the Finals, this time riding on the back of a new goaltender who was no less spectacular than his Vezina Trophy-winning predecessor.

Only time will tell if Rask can pull off more heroics during this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Bruins are on the right track to make another solid run. Even if the Bruins don’t ride the phrase “Saved by Rask!” into the Finals again, is a perfect performance every night and carrying the team to the Finals every year what it takes to be considered a good goalie? If this is the case, teams across the NHL need to start taking a close look at their own goaltender’s performances.

Yes, Johnson has been playing great in a time when Rask wasn’t the hottest. And he’ll get his chance again Wednesday night against the Sabres to prove once that he still has what it takes while Rask makes his return from the Olympics. But why write off one of the top five goaltenders in the National Hockey League in favor of a backup goalie getting his first real minutes of play in the NHL?

Johnson is posting impressive numbers and has exceeded Bruins fans’ expectations. But look at how good Tuukka Rask has been playing.

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The highs and lows of college sports

If you’re not a college sports fan, you’re really missing out. Sure there’s something to be said about the passion and dedication of some of professional sport’s craziest fans. I watched the city of Seattle this past postseason. I’ve been in the heart of Kenmore Square immediately after the Red Sox won the World Series. And I won’t even get into the ridiculous and superstition that ensues every May for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But I would argue that none of this compares to the emotion you get from following a college sports team.

College sports will take you to the highest highs and drag you to the lowest lows. I’m currently 32 thousand feet above the ground on a very delayed flight to Chicago. I should have been on the ground eight hours ago eating as much deep-dish pizza as my stomach could possibly stand, but instead I’m on my third airplane of the day fighting through turbulence toward an airport that might not even allow us to land once we get there because weather is so bad.

After calling and updating my family on the current situation, I’ve noticed a common theme. “Are you really going through all this trouble for a couple of hockey games?”

Yes. I am. I’ve embarked on this journey because the Boston University hockey team has an away weekend against Notre Dame. And I’m not alone. Twenty college students who frequent Ramen Noodles and PBR bought their plane tickets and rental cars without a second thought. Twenty college kids who drove 14 hours to Michigan back in October for another couple of games. Twenty college kids who have been following this hockey team across the Northeast for the past five months and have yet to see a road win.

Sometimes college sports drag you to the lowest of lows.

My first love was the Syracuse Orangemen. My grandfather had football season tickets and unlimited time during his retired years to travel across the country much like I am now to follow his Orange. Every other Friday night my mom and I would hop in the car and drive the two hours to Syracuse, tailgate out of the back of my grandpa’s van, follow the Pride of the Orange Marching Band to the Carrier Dome, and cheer like crazy for Cuse. You’d be surprised at how many different shades of orange one can contain in their closet.

Eventually I came to college in Boston and had to leave the Orange behind, but they will always have a special place in my heart. Sitting in Raising Cane’s in the middle of Boston last night in my neon orange was rough. I knew Syracuse needed to lose eventually. You don’t pull off two miraculous comebacks against Pitt and NC State and continue to go undefeated. It was only a matter of time.

But not against Boston College. Anyone but Boston College. I hate the Eagles. A hatred that cannot possibly be understood by a non-college sports fan. The passion behind the BU/BC rivalry is the epitome of college sports culture. You learn to hate the Eagles before you even register for your first class at Boston University. It’s engrained in our brains from the moment we step onto Comm Ave. I pity anyone who wasn’t at Agganis Arena on November 30, 2012 when BU finally beat BC at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The building was electric. College sports can bring you to the highest highs.

Unfortunately Syracuse will have to wait another year to see what that feels like against the Eagles. BC won 62-59. A 25-1 record for the Orange. I’ve never been so happy to be leaving the city of Boston.

A week prior I had been sprinting around my apartment screaming Tyler Ennis’s name. Highs and lows.

College basketball was never my main sport. I grew up on football and clearly became a bit of a hockey fan after coming to BU. When I moved into Warren Towers in September of 2010, I didn’t know anything about the Terriers. I had no idea they had paraded by my new home just one year prior after winning the National Championship. All I knew was that I wanted to join the band. It wasn’t the Pride of the Orange, but it would have to do.

It didn’t take long for me to get sucked in. Agganis Arena pulled me back week after week and next thing I knew I was dropping $300 for a trip out to South Bend, Indiana because once a week wasn’t enough of a fix. College sports will do that to you.

BU hockey may not be what it was five years ago, but there are twenty college kids in the air over Ohio right now who are already in too deep. Any postseason run will more likely than not be a very brief affair for the Terriers, yet here we are.

This is why I needed Syracuse to beat Boston College. I needed the highs with the lows.

Luckily the Terriers basketball season has been a different story. With a victory over American University Wednesday night, the Terriers took a solid lead in the Patriot League and crept even closer to another shot at the Big Dance. While Agganis attendance has been dwindling lower and lower with every hockey loss, hopefully this team can draw the crowds back to cheer on a serious March Madness contender.

I know at least twenty people who will be leaving Chicago on the first flight out Sunday morning to get back in time for a noon tip-off. College sports does crazy things to a person.

As we approach midnight and the Eastern border of Illinois, all I can think about is how wonderful a weekend sweep of the Fighting Irish would be. Nothing would make me happier after the past 36 hours. But let’s be honest, I’ll be back on the road next weekend regardless of the outcome of this one. At least we’ve accepted that we couldn’t possibly get any lower with this hockey team. We might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.

Maybe I didn’t do a good job selling college sports. I won’t lie; it’s a brutal emotional roller coaster. But there’s no better feeling in the world. There’s something about a group of kids who have nothing but heart and pride for their school driving them to swish one more buzzer beater or slip one more puck past their rivals from the other end of Comm Ave. It drives you to give all your heart and pride right back to them. And it’s a very slippery slope. Get in too deep and you may find yourself feeling at your lowest low while 32 thousand feet above the ground.

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