Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Same Old Sadness

I guess it's time I finally address the elephant in the room: our very disappointing early exit from the NCAA tournament on Sunday. As the whole sports world knows, KU got knocked out of the Big Dance yet again by a much lower seed. Ugh. While I was obviously broken-hearted, I wasn't really that surprised. Although we do have the 5th most wins of any team in the NCAA tournament, we definitely have a long history of getting upset, starting with the painful loss to UTEP in 1992 after which I laid on my bed in the Jayhawk Towers bawling my eyes out. It just happens over and over--we can't seem to handle the pressure of being favored big against teams that feel absolutely no pressure to beat us. In fact, I feel like I could almost just copy and paste the blog post I wrote last March, replacing Sherron with Tyrel and Northern Iown with VCU. So many of the game problems were similar--missed free throws, tense play, lights out shooting by the other team--and the bad weather was similar right down to the snow. Thankfully, this year on loss day we only ended up with an inch or so and not the 6 or so inches we had last year!

Although it was rough getting knocked out by an 11 seed this year, I was proud of our boys for making it to the Elite Eight and for being the last of the number 1 seeds to go home. It makes me feel so much better when other number ones fall early. This year Pittsburgh got knocked out in the second round like we did last year and I was so excited! It's not just the Jayhawks who have off days during the tourney!

Speaking of off days, we could not have had a more off shooting day on Sunday. We couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. We were awful from the charity stripe, from the 3-point line, and even from inside the paint! While it's not unusual for one or even two Jayhawks to have an off night, rarely have we ever had practically every guy on the court go cold in the same game! It just wasn't our year, clearly, and VCU was definitely feeling it.

Since I hadn't watched nearly as much of the tourney this year as I normally do, and since I was sort of preparing myself for the possibility of another upset, I really and truly believed that I would be able to better control my emotions in the event of a loss. Um, yeah...not so much. I really really thought I wouldn't cry this year, and I can't believe that after 19 years of crying after every tournament loss I still do. It just never ceases to be gut-wrenching. Looking at the faces of those players, especially a terrific kid like Tyrel, and thinking of how hard they've worked all year, and then thinking about how sad I am and multiplying it by a thousand to imagine how sad they must be--it just makes me cry every time. For us, there's always next year, but for those seniors, they'll never get the chance to dance again!

I hope they know that even when they lose we still love our Jayhawks!

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