A weird way to end a year
An obit is not an obit if it’s a birth notice.
It was a full month ago that we all wrote our obligatory season recaps for the Siena men’s basketball team.
A funny thing happened on the way to the morgue.
Like the old man in the “bring out your dead” scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the Saints thought they’d go for a walk.
What ensued not only tore up the 2013-14 obit, but, incredibly, wrote the opening lines for what promises to be a terrific 2014-15.
Make no mistake. Siena is ready for a vacation, after a run that stretched from the Montreal trip in August to the College Basketball Invitational championship on Saturday.
“Take it easy over there,” coach Jimmy Patsos said to a question about next season. “How about golfing and hitting into the woods a few times?”
The Saints are back, though, as evidenced by the support they received, financial and otherwise, to play in this thing called the CBI.
The best summary was provided by Mahatma Gandhi, of all people.
Patsos framed this quote, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”, and hung it on the lockerroom wall before the season, unbeknownst to us. He brought it out for the post-game press conference.
“This happened faster than I thought; it’s a credit to the kids,” Patsos said. “I was driving in today, and a Grateful Dead song, ‘What a long strange trip it’s been,’ played, and I thought, ‘This must be my day,’ because it’s been a long strange trip from Montreal, to here, to having guys hurt in the preseason, to Purdue to the Old Spice to the MAAC back to Fresno and San Fran and home.”
Patsos’ wife, Michele, stood to the side as the students mobbed the ARC floor after Siena beat Fresno State. Somewhere in that gold mass of humanity, her husband hoisted 5-foot-8 senior walk-on Steven Cruz on his shoulder and carried him around. There was a nice trophy, “We Are the Champions,” cutting the nets down and all that good stuff.
Later Saturday, UConn, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin would play the Final Four semifinals and draw a college basketball-record 79,444 to Jerry’s World, where the overhead video monstrosity registers a separate gravitational pull by itself.
The ARC could claim the same last week, as Siena packed them in for the CBI and got the kind of performance they’ve come to expect and demand.
At least Pluto was a planet once, until it got kicked out of the solar system. The CBI, in most people’s eyes, is just a piece of space junk floating well outside the periphery of that which truly matters.
So why were all these people running around screaming like lunatics?
“This is so weird,” Michele Patsos said. “Isn’t it?”
Yes. And no.