Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Good Times

After a couple of days back on campus and back in class with professors explaining end-of-year projects and emails announcing the final senior celebrations in the coming weeks, I quickly realized that this incredible four-year journey is about to end. Over the next month, there will be a couple of long nights studying, hopefully a couple of long nights partying and plenty of reminiscing about all of the incredible things that we did and learned as students here at Davidson College.

For me, so many of those memories will revolve around Davidson basketball. As a student fan, Davidsonian writer and editor, Sports Information intern and live-blogger, I have been privileged to see this team and its surrounding community from so many different angles.

I was absolutely thrilled during my freshman year when I made friends with several upperclassmen purely based on our mutual love of basketball, and they ended up driving me all around the Southern Conference as I watched Conor Grace and Logan Kosmalski lead Davidson to a perfect conference season.

I spent sophomore year as the crazy "involved kid with no real title" who dated a team manager, filmed most of the games, wrote about the team in the student newspaper and cheered in the student section as that incredible group of seniors led us all to our first (well, my first) taste of the NCAA Tournament, taking second-seeded Ohio State down to the wire in Dayton.

By the time junior year rolled around, I was too busy as the editor of the Davidsonian to travel to too many games, but I watched in awe as this team made up of former bench players and an undersized shooter with NBA genes took the Wildcats to the mountaintop. They set a school record for winning 29 total games, secured a consecutive SoCon title and made some noise in the NCAA Tournament as they pushed Maryland to the brink.

Then there was 2008. With exclusive blogging privileges and the full backing of Davidson's Sports Info department, I traveled everywhere and wrote about the team that never got knocked to the mat. These Wildcats came in highly touted as ESPNU filmed the season-opening Night with the Cats. But then the close losses just kept adding up. Students, fans, national media...they seemed to fade away slowly. But Davidson kept building its tower and fortune, brick by brick, penny by penny. Close calls at Elon and UNC-Greensboro begat yet another undefeated conference season and the Wildcats rolled into the NCAA Tournament riding high. And we all know what happened then. I was privileged enough to blog it all from the epicenter.

I wish that I had the time and space to thank everyone that ever cheered alongside of me, that ever picked up the paper or clicked onto the blog. I have tried numerous times to capture in words how special this entire community is to everyone that has some investment in it, to all of the people that reached out both arms to someone else and formed this impenetrable web of support that binds all things. These players and coaches and students see it every day. These alumni invoke it even when they are halfway across the world. And these town members have made the physical sacrifices to place this web in a physical setting where it can flourish. Over the last two weeks, we finally got to share it with everyone else around the world.

As you may have realized by now, this will be my last post on Will's World. I graduate from Davidson College with a history major in just over a month, and I will be working next year in Charlotte for the Carolina Panthers.

It would seem that I should continue the blog and just write about the Wildcats whenever I get up to campus to see a game, but I realized that this blog was about the perspective of a college student more than anything else. I will continue to love and cherish Davidson basketball next year and the year after, but it will be undeniably different. I don't want that difference to overly flesh out a blog that so nicely encapsulates for me my last four years at this wonderful college.

So "Thank You" all. You know who you are. Heck, we all know who you are. This is Davidson, isn't it? The place where every Day is a Great Day to be a Wildcat.