I never thought this would happen.
Okay, that is a lie. I THOUGHT it might happen, but was too afraid to say it out loud. But now I can. Michigan State. Final Four 2009. O. M. G.
Amazing. I cannot fully express to you the sheer joy and bliss I feel at this moment in time. It's not possible. But of course, this is a BLOG, so I am going to try. My attitude after the Kansas game that gave me a heart attack was this: Keep it in perspective. At the beginning of the season, I announced to anyone who pretended to listen that I wanted no less than a Big Ten regular season title and nothing short of an Elite Eight appearance. They gave me both, therefore, I had no reason to complain. Everything from here on out was icing on the cake. Not only that, but I actually REALLY like Louisville. I think they're a great team, I love the way they play, I think Pitino's coaching is out of this world, etc. I love how they're disruptive, they're fast, physical and play with emotion. In short, while I never want my team to lose, I respect Louisville and would not be crushed if MSU lost to them at this juncture.
Sitting at the State bar with my friends, I had an overwhelming sense of calm. Then once the game started, I watched Michigan State playing with the same calm I felt. It was like nothing could shake them, no one could get in their way. One of the things I've loved about this Michigan State team is that for 99% of their games, they've had a fire. A passion. A will to win that I haven't seen in MSU teams in a couple of years. And never did I see that more than in this game. A little past the midway point in the first half, it hit me. Michigan State was winning this game. It didn't matter what Louisville did or didn't do. It didn't matter if Louisville was the #1 seed or the #100 seed. Michigan State was cutting down that net. And it was funny, because you could ALSO see a point in the game when Louisville realized it too. It wasn't quite as early as the rest of us figured it out, but they got there. And that was sad too, to see such a talented team just quit. All their work, all their success and they were done. Just like that.
The bar went NUTS. Everyone kind of realized what was happening pretty early on, but the funny thing was, NO ONE wanted to say it or celebrate until that final buzzer. Even as fans, we didn't want to jinx ANYTHING. We took no chances. But once it was done, it was chaos. Jumping, hugging, screaming, singing the fight song--and that was just me. Kidding. That WAS me, but it was everyone else too.
Now I just need to find a ticket for the games.....