When I was a kid, there was the saying which the old folks had, describing life as they knew it “back in the day” or as the kids today say; “Old School”.
It went something like this: “We had to walk, slosh, and trudge, 20 miles through the cold, wind, and knee-deep snows, barefoot, uphill both ways, just to get to school. We didn’t have buses, cars, shoes, or all the conveniences you have today (we were tough, focused, and in effect, Real men rather than the wusses of today). You ought to be grateful” Or so those who tell the tale would have you believe. Many who use folklore such as this would have you believe that they too have known tougher times…times and eras which tested their very mettle, times which weighed and measured your ambitions, courage, and determination. Times which fired, forged, and tempered your every desire, dream, and goal. Times which steeled you into the very person you were to become. Now, whether real, imagined, or outright fiction by the teller, there is a grain of truth in there – somewhere. Yes, the Good Old Days…
In the Spring The “Road to Omaha” (RTO) is a tough one for those seeking the Holy Grail of the College World Series. It is a grueling test of talent, teamwork, determination, resolve, and a bit of luck to boot…to wind up at Rosenblatt, now TDAPO, in June for the party that is the CWS – the Mecca of College Baseball. Getting there is half the fun.
The Road from Omaha (RFO) is no less daunting. From Omaha to the Final Four is a long and winding road berift with all the perils, pitfalls, chuckholes, and trolls – champing at the bit – to derail teams traversing the Road to the Final Four. Just as the RTO is frought with dangers, the RFO is rife with doom, gloom, naysayers, snipers, BCS ‘runners’, and a panoply of doubters. The road is the same for Non-BCSer’s, whether from Murray St, Kent St, ODU, G Mason, VCU, Bradley, St Mary’s, Gonzaga, Austin Peay, Fairfield, Belmont, Drake, UNLV, or Butler. The test is whether one can overcome the trials, the tests, the obstacles, the grind – to reach the nirvana of the Final Four (FF). The NCAA would have ‘the little guys’ to be grateful, just to make it to the Tourney.
A 2012 recruit in Texas recently stated that he couldn’t ‘see’ getting to nirvana (FF) from Creighton. It has been done in the distant past by non-Big Sixers and now in recent campaigns by the likes of George Mason, Butler, and VCU. It is not his ‘fault’, as he suffers from the all too common malady of our day – the lack of “Vision”. Seeing is so much more than what we merely perceive just past our noses. Vision is ultimately greater than the imaging in our physical field of view. Vision is also the ability to look about and see what is missing in the picture(s) within our environment, the innate capability to ‘add’ what is missing to create a new and improved environment. And should we be so fortunate and blessed, every now and then we are allowed to peek ahead, around the corner – so to speak – and receive the vision of greater glories and accomplishment ahead. Many cannot fathom, let alone see, that we are now in the Creighton Era of collegiate sports – that Now is our time, the Creighton Bluejay era of greatness. Most cannot imagine the coming accomplishments and glory ahead for the Teams within our program.
In todays’ collegiate basketball climate it is an extremely difficult quest, definitely not an everyday occurrence, no less daunting than the RTO, but in short – it can be done. I would add to that: …and it can be done, from Omaha. The Road From Omaha-it too is a grueling test of talent, teamwork, determination, resolve, and a bit of luck to boot…but what greater grailquest is there? One where all the odds, all the cards stacked in the deck, all the paths are frought with perils – Against you!
The Big Sixers have all of the money, all of the Media, and most of the talent. What a Glorious quest indeed. The journey in “getting there” becomes half the fun, and the individuals and their respective team learn, grow, and mature exponentially as part of the process in this journey. The key being that for the little guys – GREAT TEAMS make it to the Promised Land of the FF – The GLORY of it all!
Glory, ah yes, glory…a major part of what collegiate sports is supposed to be all about. Money and power are squeezing out honor, glory, and tradition…but they have not yet been eliminated entirely. Fortunately the unintended, accidental, and miss-timed fortuitousness of the great NCAA runs by Mason, Butler, and VCU remind us that glory is not yet dead, that she still has her prominent place in collegiate sports despite the onslaught against her by the NCAA and the Big Sixers. In could be surmised that Glory refuses to roll over and die, it could be said that Glory herself is a fighter and that there is no Quit in her. We can only hope that is the case.
It is a Long and Winding Road from Omaha…but Oh, what a glorious journey indeed. Roll On Glory, roll on! Roll on Big Blue, roll on!