Some of you faithful Gannon Hoops followers might recall my Open Letter To George Johnson after the Gannon sharpshooter quit the team in November 2009. I don't know if Johnson read the letter (but the final comment on the post seems to reveal that a supporter of his certainly did), but George rejoined the team shortly afterwards and led the Knights in nearly every offensive category. I'm hoping that tactic works again with this open letter to the basketball gods. They've been messing with us Gannon fans and I want it to stop now.
Dear basketball gods:
Most letters start out real friendly and all, but this isn't one of them. Stop jerking us around. The past year has been sheer torture for us Gannon fans. Let me recap in case you forgot. Here's what the Knights have endured over the past 365 days:
* Not qualifying for the playoffs last March. Of course, the NCAAs, but Gannon didn't even make the PSAC playoffs. The Knights missed out on being a top 4 team in a 7-team conference. OK, technically it's 8 in the PSAC West, but did 1-26 Lock Haven really count? (Speaking of "counting" and "Lock Haven", check out the giant crowd they drew for a recent home game by clicking here.)
* A 14-13 overall record. I remember years ago when Gannon printed its pocket schedule, the last three lines gave the dates for the Elite 8 in Springfield, Mass. Everyone expected the Knights to advance deep in the NCAAs. Now I'm planning to spend the weekend of this year's regionals in North Springfield at Peggy Gray Candies off Route 20 West.
* A 10-7 mark at the Hammermill Center. Opponents used to fear playing in the Audi. But burned into my brain from the past year is Seton Hill celebrating its Porreco Cup title and Daemen advancing to the Gary Miller Classic finals while the Knights slinked back to their locker room. (By the way, Seton Hill is just 1-6 since their wild win over Gannon while NAIA Daemen is just 7-6 since shocking the Knights.)
Seven losses at the Audi in one calendar year! I just looked in the Gannon media guide and saw that in my 4-year career at Gannon we lost 11 total games at the Hammermill, an average of less than 3 a year. And those weren't even the glory days. In his final 7 years at Gannon, Jerry Slocum lost just 14 games at the 'Mill. And those weren't even the glory days!
* Here's the kicker that really has me fed up with the basketball gods: 10 of Gannon's 13 losses have been by 4 points or fewer. And in the the 6-point loss at Cal a week ago, Gannon trailed by just 1 with under 2 minutes to play. And don't get me started on the 3 overtime losses, including 1 in double OT. I thought the 5 nailbiting losses in late-January and February last year were excruciating, and then you serve me up a half dozen already this season. The topper was Wednesday's 62-61 heartpulverizer at Mercyhurst, which won't go away no matter how much Mylanta I guzzle.
Is it my fault? I know I made a deal with you 20 years ago when you helped a freckle-faced 145-pound guard with poor ballhandling skills and a line drive jumpshot make the Gannon roster. But if I had known it would have resulted in this, I might have just tried out for the cross country team instead.
My request to you is to give this Gannon team two additional successful possessions per game. They don't have to be anything spectacular like a Darrell Blanton dunk or an Adam Blazek whirling dirvish layup. Just two more good possessions -- 4 more points each game. If I'd have asked for this before the season, our Knights would be something like 13-2 instead of, sigh, 8-and-stinking-7.
On behalf of Gannon fans everywhere, especially those on the floor in the fetal position, thank you for considering this request.
Irritated in Erie
P.S. BYU-Hawaii advanced to the DII national championship game last year after starting its season 5-4. If you could give me that deal, it would be really sweet. Thanks again.