Thursday, February 23, 2006

Is the buzz back?

Hours after a discussion with Kristy Costa about a bowling ball of unknown origins that once bounced down a staircase to my feet, a tennis ball of equally unknown origins hit the top of my shoe in the lobby of the Gill Center.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. Bored by the prospects of pushing electronic paper, I came to the gym early to set up in anticipation of Wednesday night’s showdown with the Bullets. The ball seemed to me like a useful distraction to bounce off of the wall, floor, and bleachers of the press deck until the good folks from WTTR arrived.

So I did.

Then, at about 6:00 p.m., shortly after the doors were opened to the nearly 600 spectators on hand, I saw a glint of green out of the corner of my eye. A dropped dollar bill.

The breaks were beating my way, but I didn’t think much of it. Too many people in the building to ask if they lost a buck, so I pocketed it towards a future caffeinated purchase.

All of these little things didn’t amount to much, mild amusement and a potential cup of joe.

And then came the tip off.

For the first time this season, the Gill Center felt like the Gill Center does for women’s basketball games. The Green Terror looked like the Green Terror does for basketball games. The buzz, the energy, or however you choose to define the intangible, was back in full force.

Maybe it’s Steve-O and Kacanich.

Whatever it is, it resulted in Katy Powell’s career high. It was evident in Amy Watson’s dead-eye accuracy on the first three-point attempt of the junior’s career. The balls that may have bounced in either direction throughout the regular season started bouncing McDaniel’s way.

The intensity that has been lacking since, well, losing at Scranton in last year’s NCAA tourney had returned. After a regular season of basketball that provided about as much excitement as finding a tennis ball in the lobby, the team that I had internally written off as a squad built for next year finally gave me something to write about this year.

The team on the floor last night was the team the Terror partisan has been looking for all season long. If it was a season long opossum act, they played it to perfection. If last night was lady luck just stopping in at the Gill to rehash some memories, we’ll all just recall that success is measured by consistency over time, and this year’s Terror hasn’t been overly consistent.

Saturday will provide answers for believers and skeptics alike. With Ron Rohn, the coach of the Mules in attendance last night, you had better believe his team will be ready for McDaniel’s arrival, intensity and all. That sort of thing never stifled the swagger of Terror teams past. The swagger of Terror teams past never waited so long to show itself.

So I think back to my ball and my buck.

Maybe they were just coincidental with one of the world’s most superstitious sports teams at least temporary restoration. Maybe they were signs for a world class doubter whose mind had begun shifting towards ground balls on the lax pitch and diamonds of spring. Or maybe they were just a ball and a buck found by a world class pessimist hanging on to a shred of hope.

Either way, me, my tennis ball and my currently unspendable buck are looking forward to a drive to Muhlenberg. By the way, if you went to your wallet and found you were a buck short this morning, I’ll gladly send it back to you.

After the postseason wraps up.

Terror Picks up Pace
by Patrick Brannan, Carroll County Times

Green Terror wins with experience
by Greg Swatek, Hanover Evening Sun