Seven years ago, when I first got to AU as a sabbatical replacement, the men's basketball team was on the verge of entering the hallowed March Madness dance. They had played wonderfully well, the clear favorite as they played the final game in the Patriot League against Holy Cross. They had not been beaten. Life was good. ESPN was coming to campus. There was an air of destiny.
I wanted them to lose so very badly.
Why the ire? For one thing, all the voice-mail messages. There were about three-per-day on my machine, popping up randomly before I could delete them. I've also never been a sport guy and, after Dartmouth, I really haven't developed any sense of school spirit around athletics. If I never went to a football game when I lived in Ann Arbor, you know that I'm not the athletics kinda guy. Seven years ago, I went to the pep rally (seemingly odd in this non-football school) with my teaching assistant, Stephen; both of us dressed in black and raised our pom-poms with a disaffected lower-case "rah" when they told us to cheer. I went home and was thrilled when the team lost, because that meant the hullabaloo was over.
Seven years later, the school is poised again. This time, I became aware of it when they started talking about in on NPR as the school to look out for. Uh-oh, I thought, here we go again. This time, it's against Colgate, but there is a rally planed this afternoon and tickets are available.
Here's the difference: I actually care this time. I want them to win. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I've had athletes in my classes on several occasions -- including the entire men's freestyle swim team for a whole year in two films classes. (I referred to them as a group as "da boyz.") Maybe I'm developing school spirit after all.
Or maybe it's that I can finally have a reason to have a public screening of This Is Spinal Tap. Since there is, miraculously, a connection:
UPDATE -- Oh my God: they did it!