Tonight was the night I discovered that I do in fact think I need blood pressure medication. Especially for West Virginia sports, and especially for Mountaineer basketball in March. After a late Thursday night, I awoke with nervous anticipation looking at a clock that appeared to never move. Playing the late game is great when you’re hosting the tailgate, but every other time it’s just darn stressful. Today was no different.
Since this is my first time at the tournament, I’ve been the definition of a busy body, asking question after question after question. What do the fans of the teams who lose do? Do they stay? Who do they root for? As a severely type-A personality, I struggled all day with how do I make a plan for Saturday, struggling to not ‘jinx’ the team with wanting to talk about the what if’s of winning and losing.
I was dead wrong. Sitting on that court and watching the emotion in each Mountaineer, I knew that there was no jinxing this team. They simply want it. They want to win. While the game had it’s moments, the entire day had it’s nervousness, this team is here with a goal in mind. The Big 12 championship. Watching tonight’s forty stressful minutes of play, I was overcome with again how great this team is. How great this fan base is. Sitting on the court hearing the chants of “Let’s go Mountaineers!” and having to bite my tongue to not cheer along. It’s a moment I will surely never forget.
One of the biggest things that has struck me today as I chattered on up until tip off is that these are young adults. These are 18-22 year olds playing for a fan base across a state and across the country, and watching them push each other harder and harder to win the semifinal game, I couldn’t help but be so grateful. Grateful for this team. Grateful for Mountaineers teams of years past. Grateful for the opportunity to sit on that court and watch this team hopefully make some history.
You all know that the Mountaineers won. 66-63. They take on the big bad Kansas Jayhawks in a fight for the Big 12 tournament championship Saturday evening. I’ll be sitting there on the court for the third day in a row, watching these guys leave it all on the line. I’m not sure how these Mountaineers do it day in and day out, going on their third day in a row, but there’s a palpable sense of desire in the locker room after the Texas Tech victory. The eyes are all on the prize. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.
I can’t wait for tip off tomorrow, can’t wait to watch that Mountaineer magic as I sit on the court. This team is special, they’re lead by two very special seniors and I can’t think of a better place to be than this championship game Saturday evening.
Time to get it done, boys. Let’s go.