I think I can finally talk about this. It’s been a week now. The pain has definitely subsided. Sunday certainly helped ease the pain.
Kevin and I were able to go watch the Hoosiers play at Illinois, thanks to my uncle Dale.
This game was a lot of firsts for me:
First time I’ve ever been to a college basketball game outside of Indiana or Tennessee.
First time I’ve been to the other Assembly Hall. It was a nice venue. Obviously, I didn’t think it had the history of a Hinkle Fieldhouse or the Assembly Hall, but I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house. We were as high as you could go in the bowl and we had a pretty good view. It had a feeling similar to the old Rock Roberts days with the Aces. Of course, there’s a larger capacity at Champaign. And they got pretty loud. Would’ve been much louder if everyone in their sellout crowd showed up. I saw quite a few empty seats.
First time I’ve been to an away game for the Hoosiers.
First time I’ve been to a game that involved a team ranked #1 in the nation.
Yes, it was also the first time I’ve witnessed a student section storm the court. And honestly? I wasn’t that impressed. I was kind of expecting a tidal wave of orange surge onto the court, similar to one of my favorite memories. After all, I’ve heard over and over that Illinois fans hate Indiana. I really didn’t experience any of that hatred, but I’ll talk about that more in a minute.
You probably can’t tell from this picture, but this is the post-game celebration. There’s a lot of basketball court that’s visible. It’s nothing like the sea of red seen here.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being critical. Just making an observation. And it still hurt to watch. Not because I really care about Illinois all that much, especially now that Bruce Weber’s gone (although the way they treated Eric Gordon left a pretty sour taste in my mouth). In fact, most of the fans were quite cordial to us. The two older gentlemen reached over and shook our hands after the game. Obviously, they didn’t learn anything from their previous coach. But I digress…The fans weren’t nearly as hostile as I imagined they would be.
Well…OK. There was this one guy who started chanting at us as we left the game.
But I shall not repeat it on this blog. It was the name of HeWhoShallNeverAgainBeNamedOnThisBlog. I was very tempted to reply with my own chant:
But I didn’t. That probably would’ve gotten me in trouble. I was, however, surprised that I didn’t hear a chorus of “over-rated” being chanted throughout the building. Maybe everyone was just too much in shock.
I know I was. And so were a bunch of other Hoosiers faithful. On the way home, we stopped at the first Arby’s on the Indiana side of I-74. Some guys were already in there and we could tell they had gone to the game. They were wearing red. Their voices were a little scratchy. And their eyes communicated the same thing that we felt: shellshock. Even an hour later.
Then another group of people came in. They had the same expressions while wearing their candy-striped pants. All of us had gone to the game. All of us were still in a haze because of how things had fallen apart. Unfortunately, we could all see it coming. And there wasn’t anything we could do about it except watch in horror.
Getting nervous about this
— Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) February 8, 2013
If I remember correctly, I tweeted this 10 minutes into the second half. That was long before the shot.
Oh, that shot.
For the next 36 hours, I saw that stupid shot go in every time I closed my eyes. It haunted me. It mocked me. It taunted me. Gave me nightmares.
While this game my first for a lot of different things, I’m sorry to say that this is not the first time I’ve watched Indiana lose to a team they should have beaten because of a last-second shot. I have been to a total of four IU games in my lifetime. Of those four, three have been losses. Two were on last-second shots. That other last-second shot hurt to watch, too. The silver lining? I guess I should be happy I saw some pretty exciting games.
I’d rather say I saw a blowout. I’m fully expecting that the next time I get to go to a game.
If not, I just might have to swear off going to Indiana games altogether. Because I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. And so maybe not attending games is how I’ll wind up fighting for the Cream and Crimson for the glory of Old IU.
Then again, maybe I saw the last loss of IU’s season. That would be something kind of special, wouldn’t it?
We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess. March Madness is just around the corner and I can’t wait to see what happens!