Monday, March 23, 2009

The Weekend That Was: SDSU

One of the problems with being a San Diego sports fan is reconciling your heart and desire with the modest results of your city's teams and universities.  Let's face it, our sports history stinks.  No championships outside the San Diego Sockers, some Taylor Cups for the Gulls, and a lone men's volleyball title for SDSU.  Our baseball team has a long-entrenched history of failure, to the point that my cohort Chris Ello called their 2004-2007 period the "Golden Age" for Padres baseball, and I'm pretty sure he was being serious!  Our Chargers have made the NFL's biggest stage only once, and performed such a convincing pratfall that they looked like the junior varsity on the wrong field. 

So, allow me to float this modest thought: this is the Golden Age, right NOW, for SDSU basketball.  Now.  This second.  Before tipoff tonight between the SDSU women and Stanford at Cox Arena.  Before the Aztecs men find out their opponent for Wednesday night's NIT quarterfinal showdown on the Mesa.  While we can still look back at the 25-win season for the men (most in school history) without knowing whether their tourney run will end in New York or San Diego.  While we can still savor 24 wins for the women and a first-round NCAA victory over DePaul, and dream of a much bigger upset tonight.  

OK, it's not much of a Golden Age, I'll give you that.  2 wins in the NIT + 1 win in the NCAA would equal two coaches on the hotseat at programs like UConn, North Carolina or Louisville.  But given where San Diego basketball has been, that our city's only NCAA win came when De'Jon Jackson somehow floated that last-second jumper in for USD last year, that SDSU once won 25 games in a five-year span, not a single season...this is pretty good for us.  There is hope right now.  For two programs at once.  Both still alive in the postseason.  And both with an opportunity on their home court to do something even bigger.

Alas, if you know our sports history in San Diego, then you know this as well: there is a behemoth standing in the way.  There always is.  In 1984, the Plucky Padres ran headlong into one of the greatest Tigers teams in history, a team that started 35-5 and finished by upper-decking the Friars into oblivion.  In 1994 the Chargers collided with one of the great 49er teams in history, and got treated like royal doormats for Steve Young's Hall Of Fame coronation.  In 1998 the Pads returned to the World Series, faced the Yankees, and naturally, it was the 125-win Yankees, the best team (by percentage) in the history of the team with best history in baseball.  

Now, tonight, Beth Burns will try to find a slingshot when her Aztecs take on Stanford.  Yeah, just Stanford, the 2nd ranked team in the country, the only team thought to be able to give UConn a run for the title this year.  That's all.  The paragon of women's college basketball on the West Coast.  Who else would you expect?  I'm just surprised Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker won't be running out on the court tonight against SDSU.  But the way things go for our city, I wouldn't be surprised if each of them discovered an extra day of NCAA eligibility and signed up with the Cardinal this morning.  

Tonight could get ugly.  And there's no guarantee that on Wedneday, the men will be able to get past either Davidson or St. Mary's.  But right NOW, we can dream.  Right NOW, we can hope.  Before the cold reality sets in, there is always the warm glow of hope and the comfort of dreaming big.  And in San Diego, that's usually the most we can expect to have.  So enjoy the Golden Age, while it lasts, whether that be for hours or days to come.  

1 comment:

  1. The Golden Age of SDSU hoops is a couple NIT wins? Wow, that is SAD.

    The only time San Diego has been relevant in college hoops is when USD upset UConn last year. That is it.

    Outside of some hardcore SDSU fans, nobody cares about the NIT.

    -The Truth