Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's been a great four years to be a Wildcat

This article was published in the 10/12 edition of the Davidsonian. That issue was my last as editor. I had been writing for the Davidsonian since January of my freshman year.

I have been dreading this article ever since I was selected to be a sports editor two years ago. I knew that eventually I would have to write my last column for The Davidsonian, but somehow the actual assignment just snuck up on me like Exit 30 flying up on I-77.

In the past, sports editors’ last columns have included lists of things that Davidson needs to change, lists of people to thank or even apologies to all of the teams and people whom they didn’t cover adequately.

In that light, I will quickly say thank you to every coach and every player who has taken time out of his or her busy schedules to give us a quotation or two for an article. Thank you to all of the people at Sports Information who have given us pictures on the fly and kept us updated on late Tuesday night games. Thank you to all of the writers who have put up with me over the years. Thank you to all of the editors here at The Davidsonian, especially Suzie and Patrick. You guys have had to hear me talk about the immense importance of sports for too long now. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who has ever enjoyed reading the articles in the sports section over the years. Your encouragement and feedback has been invaluable to me.

So here’s to the last four years of sports at Davidson. When our senior class walks across the stage in May 2008, it may be one of the most successful athletic classes in decades. The trio of seniors from the women’s soccer team finished as the all-time winningest class in the program’s history. The football team put together consecutive winning seasons for just the second time this decade. Athletes from the cross country, track and swimming teams have etched their names in the record books for years to come. If the men’s and women’s basketball teams continue their winning ways in the Southern Conference this year, both groups of seniors could smash through records both for individual and team performances.

But when all of us are long gone, and the players, coaches, uniforms and facilities morph into something that we hardly recognize, and the records are broken by Davidson athletes with more talent than we’d ever thought possible, we will still have our memories. We will still have those stories of what it was like from the fall of 2004 until the spring of 2008. Here are a few of the stories that I will always remember from my time here.

During my four years here, I have never won an intramural game. During my freshman year, our flickerball team was the only one to go winless. Later that year, I broke my ankle in just the second game of the intramural volleyball season. The team went on to win every game without me. During my sophomore and junior years, I coached women’s flickerball teams that struggled when I showed up to coach (once again, they were a collective 4-0 when I couldn’t make it).

Last winter, my B-league intramural basketball team did not win when I showed to play. In the first round of the playoffs, we trailed 20-1 at halftime, but went on a 20-2 run while I sat on the sideline. I came back into the game in the final minute, and we missed the game-winning shot. The only thing that I could barely claim as victory came this year in open-league flickerball when our opponent didn’t have enough people to field a team.

In the last four years, I have traveled with the men’s basketball team around the eastern seaboard. I have watched the team win close games, lose close games and evolve into the high-powered program that we all know and love today.

However, the best part about these trips wasn’t just the games; it was the experience and the stories. After Davidson lost in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament in 2005, I joined six random Davidson students in a barbeque spot in downtown Chattanooga and drowned my sorrow with soda. (We were all underage at the time.)

The next year, I drove Jackie Pitzer and Joseph B. Adams through the farms of Ohio en route to the site of Davidson’s NCAA tournament game. I still don’t really know how Davidson’s mail lady, the head of the College Republicans and the sports editor all ended up in the same car.

Immediately after crossing the state’s border, a cop appeared and flagged us down for speeding. Right when it seemed that we would get off with a warning, I mentioned that we were going to cheer for Davidson in the NCAA tournament. He looked up and tersely said, “Ohio State is going to kill you guys. Here’s a ticket.”

I have watched Davidson football tie an NCAA record with three safeties in a game. I have watched the men’s soccer team force a tie with under five seconds remaining in a game. I have watched the women’s soccer team knock off the SEC in one weekend. I have watched the women’s basketball team advance to the postseason for the first time ever, and I’ve seen more game-winning shots from the men’s basketball team than I can count on my hands. I have sat next to Michael Wilbon at the NCAA Tournament and told him where Davidson is. I have asked Tyler Hansbrough whether Davidson students had anything to do with him not scoring a field goal in the second half of the Nov. 14 game.

Most importantly, I have been able to spend the last four years with some great friends getting to do what I love.

Thank you.


Zach said...

i was there in Chattanooga in 2005 too. Man, that was brutal. My friends and I drove the whole way back to Davidson that night just to escape that city.

Jarred T said...

Will, thanks for all you've done for Davidson athletics. I've only discovered your blog in these first few months away from Davidson and the pep band, but wish I had found it much earlier. I hope you'll continue to write... I had a blog junior and senior year and sadly let it die. I'm hoping to start a tech-related blog soon, but it's hard when you get out of the habit. Keep it up, and have a great end to your Davidson career. Enjoy every. single. day. of next semester.

WB said...

Cheers, Will!