"BOOM! YEAH! LET’S GO! LET’S GO! THIS IS OUR HOUSE! THIS IS OUR HOUSE!" I’m screaming. The crowd, while modest, is going crazy. Music blares. The players’ body language mirrors my own. They’re excited, ready to go, pumped up. Their spirits are soaring, as are mine. I feel joy, excitement, exhilaration. It’s the second half of the game against Seton Hall.
About 15 minutes later, I curse. I feel a slight pang of guilt and shame, as I realize I may have offended some of my fellow patrons, and I feel bad for having lost my cool. A few minutes after that, dread, horror, anger, and frustration mingle in a horrific ball in the pit of my stomach. Wake Forest is going to lose the game to Seton Hall, after looking like the better team for probably about 90% of the game. I am seething, hurt, despondent.
At the time I’m writing this, it’s been a couple of hours, and I feel considerably better. I am not okay with the fact that we lost, especially considering how we did, but that’s not the point. I’ll get to the point. I’m not going to do a traditional recap, other than to give a special shout out to C.J. Harris, who is officially back. 28 points on 14 shots, and an insane 7-10 from three point range. I am so proud of C.J. and I hope he remains aggressive. I’m proud of our other players as well, and let that be known. But this recap isn’t about stats for me. This recap is about something bigger, both for me and the program.
I’m done. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting BSD or giving up on the team. To the contrary, I feel liberated and I think I’ll be able to carry on in a notably better mental state now that I’ve let go. Let go of what, you might ask? I’m done wasting energy talking or thinking about the coaching situation. If others want to do that, if that’s what they enjoy or it’s what they’re passionate about or it’s how they process, that’s fine. More power to them. But that’s not me. Not anymore. When I went into the season, I told myself that all I hoped for was that the team would be fun to watch, that they’d show growth and togetherness. That they’d give me reasons to cheer. And while tonight, that feeling was tragically fleeting, it was there. That was the most fun I’ve had at a Wake hoops game, the most I’ve hoped, the most I’ve believed, in years.
Whether that’s because of coaching or in spite of it is an entirely different question up to debate, and that’s fine. I won’t begrudge anyone for having a particular opinion or discussing it (assuming they remain civil), but that’s not how I’ll choose to engage. I don’t have control over it, so what’s the darn point? It’ll shake out how it’s going to shake out. I’d cautiously put money on there being coaching turnover after this season, and if the season shakes out how it seems it might, I won’t lose sleep over it, but it’s not my call. And I don’t want to hate the administration or suggest we salt the Earth. Without getting too into what my life as a whole is like on a sports blog, just trust me, I have other things I want to worry about or that I need to try and reconcile being angry about. Things more important than Wake sports, much as I love both.
I’m going to watch the rest of this season cheering, supporting, congratulating, and finding joy where I can. I’m going to love the players on this team, cheer for them when they’re up, and do my best to comfort them while they’re down. I’m going to hope that if mediocrity is stretching it by the end of the season, appropriate changes are made. And if that comes to pass, I’m going to hope that our current talents, whom I find more worthy of cheering and supporting than any team since the downturn, feel at home and loved enough here at Wake that they’ll ride through the changes.
I signed on to do this because I love sports and I want to share that love with the world. I still feel that way, and will continue to do that. I just don’t want to invest energy into the parts that I consider futile anymore. The crowd in that arena tonight convinced me that the Tie-Dye Nation is alive, and I hope the players felt that, too. We will overcome, we will rise again, and we will be filled with joy. I know, because I was tonight. Go Deacs.