It was March of 1990 and a group of 8th grade boys huddled around a 13″ tV in the library to watch the Oregon State Beavers take on the Ball State Aces. As we watched the Gary Payton led Beavers struggle to score against a tough Aces defense, our confidence and cockiness as a fan base waned as the game went to the wire. A 27 foot 3 pointer as time ran out left us shocked and speechless. That shock and silence would have been even more deafening had we realized we would not again watch the Beavers in the NCAA tournament until we all turned 40 years old. The 10th winningest program in the Nation fell on hard times following that fateful bucket as time ran out.
This week I filled out an NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament bracket and was delighted to see Oregon State University as one of the teams to pick. Sure, I already knew after seeing the announcement ceremony, but for some reason it really hit me when I clicked on them to beat VCU in their game on Friday. It was a flash back to that day in ’90 not just because of a familiar name but because of the excitement it brings. Every team has hope for something magical during the madness.
And that feeling doesn’t end with just the Men’s Hoops team.
Women’s Basketball also has had a magnificent season culminating in an NCAA tournament appearance. While the Lady Beavers have been the class of the conference, the win at the conference tournament really sealed this team as one of the most special teams in Beaver history. As I have mentioned before, one of the best sports experiences I have had in the past few years was watching the Women’s Civil War this year.
While my history with the Women’s team has fewer core memories, I still remember meeting Carol Menken after a game at Gill Coliseum and also having a reasonably large crush on Tanja Kostic in High School. I am proud of the renaissance of both programs and as I get ready to watch both today (while trying to get some work done) I cannot think of a March that had more Beaver Madness in my life time.
Go Beavers! (PRO)