A Special Senior Night – From the Bird’s Nest
In my early days of covering Ragin' Cajuns sports, I gotta admit I acted like a fan.
Every win was euphoric. Every loss wasn't the end of the world, but you could see it on the horizon.
At some point, and I really can't tell you when, I realized if it continued, I'd die young.
So, I adopted that "never too high, never too low" approach that Bob Marlin preaches.
Of course, there have been exceptions. But it's been rare that a win or a loss has stayed with me for very long. And, there have only been a couple of times when the emotions have gotten the best of me.
Saturday afternoon I'll go to the Cajundome and record an interview with Coach Marlin. It will be two segments and, counting commercial time, will take up a good part of the pregame show.
And, tomorrow, that's a good thing.
Because there's no way I could be on the air while the Cajun Basketball Senior Day festivities are being held.
I tweeted last week what an honor and a privilege it has been to cover this Ragin' Cajuns' Basketball team. And, that tweet really didn't do justice to this bunch.
This article won't, either.
Quite simply, in 26 years of covering Cajuns' sports, this has been the best bunch I've ever been around.
And, it's not because they've won a school record 26 games.
It's not because they've won the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
It's not because they are going to be in postseason play in a national tournament.
It's because these guys get it.
From the coaches, to the student-athletes, to the support staff, they get it.
I've never been around a team with better chemistry and better leadership than this team has. THAT, more than their talent is why they've won 26 games. Oh, sure, they are really good players. They have three 1,000 point scorers and one of them also happens to have 1,000 rebounds to go along with it. It's a team with athleticism, shooting ability, depth....all those things that you need to win a championship.
But if you're going to have a season like this, it's the intangibles that make you great.
And, that's especially true of the five seniors that will be honored in pregame ceremonies Saturday night.
Bob Marlin chooses to do the ceremony about 15 minutes prior to tip off (which is my way of reminding you to get there early.) It enables the seniors to be honored, be a bit emotional and then go back to the locker room and get back to business before tipoff. It's a smart move. For those of us, workers and fans alike, who have followed these seniors on their journey, it gives us a chance to get our act together as well.;
If I tried to say all of this on Saturday's broadcast, I'd never be able to get the words out. So let me do it this way.
To Bryce Washington. To Johnathan Stove. To Frank Bartley IV. To Larenz Stalcup. And, to Jacob Broussard, I say thank you.
Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for the love you have for each other. Thank you for your focus. Thank you for your businesslike attitude.
Thank you for being Student-Athletes and for getting those words in the right order. Thank you for understanding while basketball may come to an end, education lasts a lifetime.
Thank you for understanding the name you wear across your chest means something. And, that it means so much more than whatever is on the back. Thank you for honoring your parents and your coaches by doing things the right way on and off the court.
Thank you for being selfless and understanding the definition of servant leadership. I thank you for wanting to leave a legacy...and an example to future teams.
And, that's for letting me come along for the ride and making me feel like I'm a part of it.
Dunk you very much, guys.