The sports teams I follow do little to elevate my self-esteem. I pledged allegiance to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they entered the NFL in 1976, and they promptly lost their first 26 games. For baseball, I fell in love with the Pirates in the late 70s, then they stayed below .500 for the next couple decades. At Sacred Heart grade school I was a starter on the basketball team for two seasons, stumbling to a 3-23 record in 8th grade which was actually an improvement over our 1-18 mark in 6th grade (in your face St. George!). The trend only got worse as I got older. Working in the PR department for the Erie Wave pro basketball team appeared to be my dream job especially when the team won its home opener before thousands of Erieites in May 1990. But the Wave left town -- and I lost my job -- after going 12-34, 18-33, then 12-16 before suspending operations.
The only team I've followed
where I could claim consistent superiority has been Gannon basketball.
The program has accomplished everything but a national championship --
wins over local rivals, regular season league championships, conference
tournament titles, NCAA wins, regional crowns, and even being national
runners up one year.
But the Knights dropped to a miserable 2-7 this season after being shredded Saturday afternoon by visiting Wheeling Jesuit, 89-60.
I expect to see that record around week 10 of the NFL season, not when
I'm leaving the Hammermill Center in mid-December. At least when the
Buccaneers stink I can root for a higher draft pick. But when Gannon
takes another step toward a .200 winning percentage, all I can do is
grind my teeth a little more. If this keeps up, I'll be rubbing my gums
together on Valentine's Day.
This Gannon team has
appeared to be in scramble mode all season, and that was particularly
evident today. WJU peppered the ball around the perimeter until they
fired an open three or fooled the Knights with a back door cut. It was
the fourth consecutive game Gannon allowed its opponent to shoot better
than 50% from the floor. Another contrast was that Wheeling Jesuit has
started the same 5 players in their 8 games this season. With junior
transfer Emmanuel Matey opening at point guard today, Gannon has now
started 10 different players this season. No, not 10 different lineups or combinations; 10 different players.
even saw a new player activated today with McDowell grad Max Kerr
dressing and playing for the first time. Kerr wowed the crowd with
back-to-back threes in the first half, causing us at the scorer's table
to debate during the next media timeout who was a greater all-time Golden Knight: Kerr or Adam Blazek. Kerr isn't the only roster change I
understand. I've been told that Gabriel Adersteg left the team a little
over a week ago and redshirt big man William Asplund quit more
the lead story by sports editor and longtime Gannon hoops fan Dominic Sansone
detailed the men's basketball attendance decline. The Audi was pretty
much empty at tip-off today (see accompanying photo) and the box score for today's game listed an official attendance of 481. When did we become Edinboro?
of the Scots, they sit atop the PSAC West at 5-1 and are the next
opponents for last place Gannon, who is 1-5 in the West. For me, there's no
better feeling than walking into McComb expecting to win and then
drilling the Scots in front of their biggest crowd of the year. If Gannon wins Wednesday, I think it will surprise us all -- and give me a much-needed
boost of sports self-esteem.