Thursday, February 25, 2010

Senior Day 4.0

By: Lauren Biggers
Davidson vs. UNCG

A couple hours before tipoff of the Wildcats' 60-56 win over UNC Greensboro Wednesday night at Belk Arena, I updated my twitter (which i still think a strange exercise, even stranger when used by media outlets as a source) to reflect senior night for WILL, Steve, Dan and the WL, minus Steven. Within seconds, responses from former men's basketball SID Joey Beeler and the BIG CAT pour in. Seems like just months ago we were doing this for MAX, Civi and Andrew and not at all like years ago when Beeler was 'that guy hugging Stephen Curry on TV' everywhere we went.

But it is senior night for the Four: Will Archambault, Stephen Rossiter, Dan Nelms and Bryant Barr, with the one conspicuously missing and always and forever a part of this class: Stephen Curry. The four of us started this journey together (super senior ROSS-I-TER had a head start), and I know a lot of you do, but I do not know Davidson basketball without them.

As I watched Will, Dan, Steve and Bryant, escorted by their parents and photographed by their loved ones (and fiances!), take center stage to meet their head coach, I found myself reflecting on the last four years. I can't really remember these four as freshmen. What I remember most about that first season is that skinny kid from Charlotte causing a buzz and really annoying Gary Williams in the NCAA tournament. I remember watching that game with colleagues and student-athletes alike in the volleyball team room and how much fun that was.

The year after, I'll always remember. That weekend in Detroit forever occupies a special place in my memory bank. The pictures are truly worth a thousand words.

Last year was different with the pressure to succeed almost tangible at times. Learning to bear it and redefine it. Wanting so badly to repeat the greatness while the decision weighed on everyone.

And this
season hasn't played out the way we would have written it if we could.One of the first blogs I wrote this season was that after Stephen things would be OK. We knew we'd miss him, but not this much.

So as I sat and watched the game, I wanted to win so these Four, who have given Davidson so much to be proud of, could take their curtain call and remember the fun times fondly. I hope they all hugged the youngest McKillop afterwards for making that possible.

And years from now, when I think back on this senior class, and when I watch them play in their final SoCon championship in a few weeks and receive their diplomas a few months later (should I get a B.A. or a B.S.?), it won't ultimately be the basketball that I'll remember. It'll be the reasons I am able to say yes, this really is that special of a place, to the so many people that have asked me over the years since the run of 2008. The notes on my desk when I'm "late" for work. The heys from the hallways. The post-game high fives. The pranks. The SID lunches. Dart games and photo shoots. SIDIOTY applications. The graduation announcements. The wedding invitations.

I have watched over the years as these four have transformed from shy freshmen into team captains and homecoming kings and ambassadors for the game and the kind of people that leverage their influence to raise thousands of dollars for malaria in Africa.

In a few weeks, I cannot wait to watch the other, the missing one who has grown exponentially from the skinny kid no one wanted to the All-American prankster to the one just getting started on what I'm sure will be a wondeful rollercoaster of a journey. Even if his diploma doesn't say it (yet!!), he'll always be a part of this team, and I promise you he watched and cheered. March 6,
I'll be one of many in a Davidson 30 jersey cheering wildly for him.

Leaving the post-game celebration at our local Brickhouse and popping into the senior celebration to say goodnight, the WL asks, "Have you met my parents?" That's what I'll remember.

Just my way of saying, Thanks guys. Make us proud the rest of the way, in basketball and in life.

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