Being the fabulous site moderator that I am, I finally got around to reading KCsince88's fanpost he wrote way back on Tuesday. Sorry. However, it was one of the best things that has ever been written on this site, and got me thinking. And as I thought about it, I realized that I was in the same, exact, boat.
After last season, with every game being an exciting, fun-to-watch two hour show, this year was something different. Coming in, everyone talked about how pumped up they were for this season. I was in that group, too. However, it was an entirely different type of pumped up; an entirely different type of excitement. Instead of eagerly awaiting every game to see what crazy alley-oop we'd throw down next, or just how much we would beat this overmatched opponent by, this year is about growth. And as exciting as it is to see, and as fun as it is to blog about, it isn't the same kind of stuff. It's nitpicking freshmen over stupid passes, or celebrating a three-pointer made, instead of wondering aloud if this is the year we can win it all. Instead of the end goal being a National Championship, the end goal is simply to get better as the year goes on, rebuilding for next year.
So, this year has been full of simply having fun watching basketball games. Not a lot of looking forward to watching games; just knowing when they're going to happen, showing up, and having some fun watching some young players grow. And don't get me wrong; it's been an absolute blast. Nothing in sports, nothing, is more enjoyable and more fulfilling and more satisfying than watching a team rebuild and come out of it a winner. It's the best feeling you can have. That is what makes this year so cool, so special. We are building up for the future.
But, that isn't what this is about. We've all known that, and accepted it, for months. Monday night's win against Texas A&M changed this season. Now, I can't wait until the next Jayhawk game. I'm not quite yet to the Countdown stage of my fandom, but another big win (I'm looking at you, February 2nd on Big Monday in Waco), and I'll probably get there. All of a sudden, with one blowout win against a likely-overrated team that looks headed to the NIT, this season has taken on a whole nother light. It isn't just about rebuilding, it isn't just about development, it isn't just about getting better. Now, in addition, it's about winning games. It's about winning the Big 12, and getting a solid seed in the NCAA Tournament. It's about winning the first game in the NCCAs, then the second. Then, it's about trying to pull off a miracle on the second weekend and sneak into the Final Four. Finally, it's about pulling a 1988 Danny and the Miracles and winning it all again.
I know, it's not going to happen. Don't think I'm some irrational fanboy who thinks with his heart, not head. But, seriously, hope is abundant. Excitement is in the air. Optimism is abound.
Enjoy yourself. And, as important as it is to remember that this is an incredibly young team, and they are going to do some ridiculously stupid things, and we aren't going to be nearly as successful as last year, don't treat this simply as a simulation year to get to next year. Nah. This is a damn good team, a team that could make a serious run at the Big 12 and be a dangerous team no one wants to play in March. It could happen, I promise.