As fans, sometimes we get caught up in the big picture of a season. We think that the results of the whole season are all that matters and even if we pretend we don’t, the change in fan involvement based on results is telling.
For the men’s hoops team, this has been obvious. Four weeks ago, they were the toast of the message boards and the love flowing for Coach Tinkle was an avalanche of ‘Atta Boys.’ Now a few weeks later, after OSU has suffered some losses to some quality teams, the interest has waned from the fan zone. I don’t blame them, it is the truth of being a fan. As I sit in my Eugene office and listen to duck fans chat about potential NCAA births, it gets even harder to be super excited about a team that is now fighting for the NIT.
The thing is, this season as a whole has been a success even if the Beavers lose out. While I am not hoping for that, there is so much that has happened, so much growth and so many great games that the Beavers have truly conquered this year. Yes, the rematch round of conference games has been tough, but it always was going to be. The conference has some great coaches and they saw what OSU did to them in the first go around and made adjustments. OSU is also probably getting a little tired and thin on the bench. Most of these players played limited action last year, so the fact that they go from that to playing 30+ minutes a game is a big jump.
Beyond that, while fans still wonder what there is left to play for, players should know that the answer is simple:
Being an athlete, being on a team, every win gives you a little boost, a little confidence and a few days of being a winner. The next game or next week could change things, but no streak starts without that first win and no momentum is gained without first beating your opponent.
This off season will be interesting in that there will most likely be a lot of changes. So the current players need to address where they were weak and come in ready to compete because there will be very talented young players vying for their spots. Regardless, this group of Beaver Basketball players have taken a huge step, have built on the foundation set by their coach and have served notice to the conference that there will be no easy win, especially in Gill. When Colorado comes to Corvallis, they will be facing a team with a lot to play for.
The next win. And for championship teams, that is enough, because no one raises a trophy without collecting as many of those as they can.