Husker Basketball and the Turning of the Tide

Posted: March 7, 2014 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

What does it feel like when the tide starts to turn?

When the ocean wave licking your ankles in a sloppy Atlantic kiss, suddenly turn on a militarily precise heel and head in the opposite direction; a subtle aboutface that tugs at your feet and your equilibrium?

What does it feel like to be there when the pendulum starts to finally, bracingly, achingly swing back in the other direction?  When you gasp as your stomach-dropping momentum starts to finally rise once more?

What does it feel like when a coach and a team run roughshod over expectations, surging recklessly past the preconceived notions of the malaise-stricken fans, leaving in their wake the slain demons of years and years and oh-so-many-fucking-years past?

What does it feel like when a grinning David – he of gangly limbs, Harry Potter horn rims and quickly-tossed-aside suitcoats – seems poised to raise a Goliath by razing goliaths?

What does it feel like when a football state suddenly turns both shocked-to-bulging eyes to the basketball periphery and stares in wonder?

It feels like now. 

It feels like the moment at the top of the roller coaster when the anticipation is throbbing through your veins with each sub-woofer beat of your give-too-much-of-a-shit-because-that’s-just-what-we-do heart.  It feels like Tim Miles in year two reaching into a hat and pulling out a rabbit that wears dreadlocks and a Biblical Shepherd’s beard and hits fearless fadeaways that shoot us to our feet like an ejector seat in an action movie. 


It feels like pandemonium bubbling to the surface of Pinnacle Bank Arena, like some seething, hissing, gushing science project that used to widen our childhood eyes when Bill Nye got his science on.

It feels like Walter Pitchford jacking up threes with more confidence than James Bond going all-in against a table full of villains who all want him dead and it feels like the phoenix that has risen from the ashes of David Rivers’ “DNP –Coach’s Decision” and is now in the starting lineup going chest to chest and will to will against men 5 inches taller and 3 stars more prestigious.

It feels like Benny Parker should legally change his name to include an exclamation point at the end of it.  So that his name officially reads “Benny Parker!”  It feels like Benny is involved in one of those movies – inevitably starring Jason Statham – where a post-apocalyptic society has reverted to murderous, gladiatorial-style games and that he’s literally playing for his life out there.  Benny Parker is Katniss.  That’s where we’re at right now.  The guy who was buried so deep in the coffin of pine-warming that many believed the only way we’d see him again would be as a zombie extra on The Walking Dead.


But he’s here.  And he’s hungry.  And he’s somehow metamorphosed into a completely terrifying on-ball defender who plays so hard that he’s literally strip-mined the living hell out of the cliché mineral field and the only way left to describe him is by using kitschy pop culture references (*Author’s note: I can’t believe I dropped Katniss.  You did this to me, Benny Parker.  You did this.)

So what does it feel like when hope springs in the spring?  What does it feel like when we’re watching NCAA bubbles instead of the carbonation in our beers and the joy of other fan bases?

It feels like bandwagon riders and long-time diehards highfiving with fracture-inducing glee because it’s all hands on deck right now, damn it.  It feels like I don’t give a damn if you think our starting point guard is Drake Martinez or Tai Webster or Juwanna Mann, because we need all the enthusiasm and prairie-wildfire-spreading passion that we can get right now.  It feels like Tim Miles is about the climb the bully pulpit and 16,000 Husker fans are about to join in a raucous chorus of Hallelujah.


What does it feel like, with our feet toeing the starting line and the sun setting on the old ghosts haunting this program?

It feels like tee-shirts emblazoned with slogans that have come true.  It feels like “US ALWAYS” means “US”, too, even though we couldn’t hit a jumper if our life depended on it.  It feels like that school pride, that city pride, and that state pride that normally come geysering out during the fall are all ready to come boiling to the surface.  It feels like the Vault is about to turn into Mount Saint Helens on a normally placid Sunday in March.

What does it feel like when the tide starts to turn?

This.  It feels like this.



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