Two thoughts popped into my brain as the final horn sounded. First, it's nice to see a win after Gannon had dropped 10 of its previous 11 games. Second, why couldn't this have happened 10 months ago when Slippery Rock upset #2 seed Gannon in the NCAA first round?!? I should probably see a doctor because even when Gannon wins this season I somehow end up with an excruciating headache.
To me, the word of the day for the Pink Zone and Hall of Fame game was "together." John Reilly rarely subbed in players during the second half and had Tony Boykins and Isiah Eisendorf not been plagued with foul trouble, we might have just watched 5 guys play 20 straight minutes to close out a game. Despite tired legs and a deficit, that crew stuck together, kicked their turnover habit, and executed down the stretch.
The bench was together as well. With a now 4-13 record and essentially nothing to play for -- or not play for in their case -- the guys who sat most of the second period were as enthusiastic as last year's PSAC champs. I especially noted the actions of Kevin Kuteyi, who started the game, hit a three, picked up two fouls, and played just the first three minutes of the game before rotting on the bench the rest of the way. A smiling Kuteyi was exhorting his teammates on the floor with his arms around the players next to him on the bench, worried more about a win than his playing time.
Togetherness was also on my mind because instead of finding my own seat behind the opponent's bench like I do most games, I sat in the Section D bleachers with my former Gannon teammates Gregg Blair, James Henderson, and their families. Big Daddy -- I can't call him Jim like his family does -- was at the Hammermill to root on his daughter Morgan, a freshman on the Slippery Rock women's team. While watching a teammate's college-aged daughter play made me feel really, really old, that was overshadowed by the stories and comments we shared with each other during both games.
It reminded me that the games we won or didn't win back in the day really didn't matter that much. Supporting each other during our college careers and 25 years beyond matters way more than where we finished in the conference.
On that note, I'd like to ask the commenters on this blog to stick together and treat each other with respect. There's no reason to fight because we all agree on so many things:
- Apple pie
- America is the best country in the world
- We all love Gannon hoops
- Tom Chapman is the best donut delivery man ever
- Mother Teresa is our second favorite mother
- Donald Trump is a rude, ego-maniacal, blowhard who could learn a thing or two hundred from Mother Teresa
- No one will ever break Glen Summors' rebounding record
- Snow makes Erieites tougher than the rest of the country