Apr 3, 201206:03 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
The Final Four, and Disappointment
How many chances in a lifetime do you get to have your favorite team in a Final Four contest in your city?
My friends and I talked about getting tickets to the games, but in the end decided that several hundred dollars for nosebleed seats wasn't really worth it, so we just had a party at my house on Saturday night - with plans to walk into the Quarter and party if we won.
I was excited all week. On Friday night I could barely stand it I was so happy. It felt like everything was a little brighter and shinier. It was like the last day of school or Christmas Eve. The weekend held the possibility for anything to happen. A weekend of happiness and total bliss.
And while we ended up having a lot of fun, it certainly was not total bliss.
We're all Ohio State Buckeye fans. It seems like if you say that around here people automatically look at you with pity. Or just out and out laugh in your face. But we don't care. We love our Buckeyes, rain or shine.
We live in a city full of mostly LSU (or other SEC teams) fans, so it was really cool for our hometown team to play in our new city, along with tons of other fans coming to New Orleans for an awesome weekend and a chance to see our team take it all.
I loved seeing all the Buckeye fans cheering in the Superdome. I kind of want to get those sleeves they were wearing and start sporting them around everywhere.
And I thought we even had a chance to win the whole thing.
But was I surprised that we lost? No.
As the Buckeyes managed to squander what seemed like a huge lead, we still had hope. We were winning for about 99.5% of the game. And when we finally lost it, my friends and I shouted various obscenities and paced around a bit, but none of us was surprised. It comes with the territory of being a Buckeye fan. We have a history of taking things really far and then choking in the end.
I think one of the differences I've seen down here is that recently when LSU or the Saints lose a football game, everyone is devastated because fans are totally confident that they will win. I see this confidence all the time on Facebook. A typical LSU fan will be like, "We're gonna dominate! We're gonna stomp on (insert some poor team here)." So when they actually lose, there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Shock. Disbelief. Panic in the streets.
But for Buckeye fans, we're used to it. Our Facebook updates just tend to be "Go Bucks!" Not a bunch of overconfidence and hubris, because we've been there and have been burned. We don't want to say anything that will certainly come back to haunt us. We know disappointment.
Now, I may never be an LSU fan, but I have totally fallen in love with the Saints. It was easy to become a fan because the culture surrounding the football team is just so awesome. A lot of the friendships I have today were forged by watching Saints games at the local pubs my first year in New Orleans and having an absolute blast. And Drew Brees is such a great guy to root for as well as being a product of the Big Ten. I never really had a favorite NFL team before moving down here because the Bengals and the Browns had never inspired me to care much about them.
But when the whole "bountygate" thing came to a head and Sean Payton was suspended for a season, I wasn't really affected by it. Over the past few weeks I've seen a city full of "Free Payton" t-shirts, but I can't muster an opinion.
The Buckeyes went through a similar fiasco last year and our head coach (and sweater vest enthusiast) Jim Tressel stepped down and pretty much all the good players were benched for most of the games. Then after the horrible season that we had, the NCAA decided to pour salt into our open wounds by not letting us play in any bowl games in the next season, punishing a team of players and a head coach that had absolutely nothing to do with the scandal in the first place. So even if we do win, we're not going to win.
It seems like the only hope we have is that Urban Meyer is now our guy. But please, dude, don't find and unleash another Tim Tebow upon us.
The fining and benching and suspending of my favorite teams has left me a little jaded. I think it's horribly unfair. I understand the penalties and all that to a point, but some aspects just seem unreasonably harsh. It really makes me wonder about the integrity of the games that I'm cheering for. About the institutions these teams belong to. And about how shady everyone invovled seems to be.
It's making me start to not care all that much because I just wonder how much of it is real. Are any of these games fair? Or real? All the fun is being taken out of it.
What was great about March Madness is that it allowed me to renew that spark of rabid fandom, of excitement. The OSU men's basketball team isn't plagued with scandal. Half the team isn't benched for getting free tattoos and cars. Our coach is still a cool and beloved dude. It was nice to be able to relax and enjoy rooting for the team. To really feel that sense of pride when the players arrived in The Big Easy. I was so happy that they were here; It made me feel like I was back home for a little while. Only, you know, a lot cooler.
My fellow buckeyes and I being sad ... and zombie-eyed.
But they lost. C'est la vie.
Oh well. I'm glad they were here anyways. I got a t-shirt that says "Geaux Bucks," which is certainly something you won't see anywhere else, so that was pretty cool. We still had a great season. I will never stop wearing my scarlet and grey, or my black and gold for that matter.
And I hope that the fans of all four teams had a great time in New Orleans. I can't think of a more perfect spot to have a great Final Four. I also quite enjoyed hearing KISS and The Black Keys from my back yard.
As for the National Championship, I'm going to hope that UK won, if only because of Anthony Davis. My husband desperately wants him to be a New Orleans Hornet. And he reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo.
I think that's as good a reason as any.
And incidentally, my husband says that if the Hornets are lucky enough to win the lottery, he'll grow out a healthy brow to sport at The Hive as well. So there's that.