Sunday, March 30, 2008

Davidson grows up tonight

An early morning saw Davidson students dragging out of bed to come down to the hotel lobby to film a short segment for ABC's Good Morning America. The network grabbed the current and former student body presidents, the senior cheerleading captain, threw in some stereotypes and got out of dodge.

...Tiny Davidson where the quirky little students act so cute with their textbooks and their Neil Diamond...

The students might not have the voice to express it, but they are tired of being patronized 15-year olds in an adult world. They are tired of reading about how cute and feel-good their team is in a college basketball world of pre-professional men with full-grown facial hair. They are tired of the stereotypes that say that these kids don't belong in downtown Detroit, so they should just go home to their suburbia where everyone loves everyone else in some surreal bubble.

Today, Davidson gets to grow up in everyone's mind. And when they do, the world will realize that the hearts, passion and wherewithall of our students and players are even more mature than X-big school with their hundreds of thousands of fans and proverbial facial hair.

Dropped off in downtown Detroit at high noon, I was with a group that took over a local burger joint and filled it with Wildcat red. Natives with Red Wings gear came in and gawked at the tables of Davidson students singing to the 60's music blaring from the jukebox. One Kansas couple came in and walked back out immediately.

Davidson is formidable in this town today. The school is not just formidable because every non-Jayhawk fan is pulling for the Wildcats, but because there has been a transformation in this student body. Over half of Davidson's students will be here tonight and all of them know the score. This isn't the same student body that left games early to go do homework. This is no longer the group of kids that largely had no idea what was going on down there on the court. This year has been Big Time Basketball 101 and these students are ready for their final exam.

I sit here in the media room right now and watch as Memphis creeps closer to being the third #1 seed to reach the Final Four. I read Gregg Doyel's column about how Kansas is bigger, faster, stronger and they should be able to drive Davidson into the ground. On paper, this is supposed be one of the biggest blowouts in regional final history. Davidson doesn't have a chance, right?

But here's the coolest part...no one cares. Davidson students aren't fretting about what they can do about slowing down all those McDonald's All-Americans. They know exactly what is going to happen tonight...Davidson will play to win, they will get better, and they will have a whole lot of fun. And when the eight-minute mark of the second half rolls around, Davidson could be on the verge of doing something historic, or they could just be fighting to make it respectable...but either way, these Davidson fans clad in red will lead a rousing chorus for the world to join in on.

Oh Sweet Caroline...these good times have never felt so good...I'm completely inclined...to believe they'd never would.

2 comments:

Claire said...

Will, I hadn't read this post till now, and it might be my favorite.

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