Gannon's odyssey-like season came to an end tonight with a closer-than-the-score-indicated 62-53 loss at #6 IUP. As I watched the final seconds tick off the clock (via the Internet telecast), I couldn't help but think how different I felt after Gannon's first loss of the season versus this season-ending loss. When the Knights fell at home to Urbana by 30, I could only laugh in utter disbelief. After game #1, the consensus prediction for the season was "disaster." Fans were thinking the Knights might not be competitive with any opponent this season, let alone one of the best teams in the nation. But, dang it, Gannon just went toe-to-toe for 40 minutes with 26-2 IUP. I'm not sure if Catholics are allowed to believe in zombies, but the way the Knights kept coming back from the basketball dead this year, I'm a believer.
I'm not ready to look ahead to next year; I still have to look back and marvel at the season that was. Didn't it seem like every game in the second semester the Knights (a) shot 30-something percent from the field, (b) committed nearly 20 turnovers, and (c) struggled to rebound AND STILL COMPLETED WITH EVERY OPPONENT?!? I'm thinking Ivan George was running the scoreboard at the Audi this year, adding points to Gannon's total when nobody was looking. How else could a team with those stats stay in the game?
Sure, this season had a bunch of warts, but the persistence and perseverance shown by the Gannon coaching staff and the guys who finished the season is commendable. "Nothing in this world," said President Calvin Coolidge, "can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." I wrote three months ago in my Open Letter To George Johnson after he quit the Gannon team that the habits young people develop in college will determine where they end up in the future. Persistence and perseverance are among the greatest attributes one could ever possess.
Congratulations to the Golden Knights on a gutty season. Now let's root like crazy for the Gannon women.