Sunday, March 22, 2009

Peach Street North to Springfield

On Sunday afternoon several Erie fans told the Golden Knights goodbye and gave them a symbolic hug as the team departed the Hammermill Center via a bus headed for Springfield, Mass., and the Division II Elite 8. The pep rally contrasted sharply to the atmosphere the last time Gannon headed to Springfield for the DII quarterfinals. I was a sophomore on that 1989-90 team, and instead participating in a feel-good family-friendly event, we quietly stuffed ourselves and our equipment into a couple vans prior to dawn with not one human wishing us farewell.

What I recall most about that morning is that two of my teammates (senior starters Dave Callahan and Andy Adams) and I almost missed the bus. I was a commuter my first three years at Gannon, so to save time that morning I stayed overnight at Dave and Andy's apartment, located about 7 blocks from the Hammermill. We would be traveling most of the day -- to the Erie Airport then flying Erie to Philly to Hartford and then driving about 45 minutes to Springfield. Most adults would be thinking, "That's going to be a tough morning. I better turn in early." But the mind of the college kid says, "We don't have practice in the morning, and I bet I can sleep on the plane. Plus, we're the most popular kids on campus -- I'm sure someone will buy a drink for me!" So Andy and Dave trekked that night to the Shaggy Dog. I stayed back and fell asleep on their couch; I was 20 at the time so I was still underage. (In today's world, if I went to The Dog as a 2o-year-old, I'd be one of the oldest patrons there. They'd probably call me "gramps.")

Next thing I know Andy is yelling at me to wake up. Nobody had set the alarm clock, and we woke up just 15 minutes before we were supposed to report to the Audi. Forget taking a shower and brushing my teeth. I didn't want to encounter Coach Dukiet's wrath. I figured my only option for punishment was kicking me off the team; Duke couldn't bench me because I was already there. The situation was worse for Andy and Dave because they hadn't even packed yet. I don't recall how we made it to the Hammermill, but we got there just in the nick of time. A photographer from the Times News was preparing to snap a team photo in front of one of the vans. We caught our breath and extended an index finger to let everyone know our goal for the trip. I don't have the photo with me, but I recall that Andy's eyes were nearly closed. I don't think it was because he was blinking.

2 comments:

  1. Reilly better win it all or his job may be on the line. Kidding? Well, if you think that Reills is safe, look at this site: http://www.firepatsummitt.com/ If she's not safe, nobody is! :-)

    OK ... Now to be serious ....

    I said it once and I'll say it again. No matter what happens, from a quarterfinal exit to the Mules to a buzzer-beating win in the national championship on CBS, it's been a special season. It's been a pleasure and quite frankly, an honor to see it and to be a part of it in a small way.

    The men and women's teams have combined for 56 wins, shattering the school record of 50 in 1987-88. Let's add on to it!! Go Knights!!!

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  2. Yah people need to be realistic... 1.) Tennessee had a horrible season (in comparison to the past 15+ years... I think they went something like 19-8 or close to that...) 2) half of the ESPN analysts PICKED Ball ST to beat Tennessee in the first round. I filled out a women's bracket in one league and they give you the percentage of who picked which team.. and more people picked Tennessee in the 1st round, but it was 58-42 over Ball State, so obviously even America felt Tennessee was vulnerable. (Now, I'm not a Tennessee fan and I really don't care for Pat Summitt, but I do feel she's one of the greatest coaches in the game, but you won't hear me complaining about their 1st round loss, just makes the road a slight bit easier for my UCONN girls haha)

    And people need to be realistic about Gannon, as well. Even if they were to get demolished by Central Missouri (*fingers crossed* that's not the case, maybe vice versa though ha), it's been a spectacular season. But many people who made the trek to Springfield will arrive home with the feeling "That was a waste of time" (and maybe money). But did they actually go into the trip with the feeling that Gannon was going to win it at all? I mean, optimistically even I'm thinking Gannon is going to win it all. But realistically, I'm telling myself "one game a time". People just need to stop and think...

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