JF

We’ll be forgoing the typical preview for tomorrow night’s game for something a bit different. The Gophers play a Division II team, in a game that will be ignored by 99% of the college basketball universe, and 100% of the NCAA tournament Selection Committee. I just can’t bring myself to research  a bad president (arguably Franklin Pierce’s signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act directly led to the Civil War) and a really bad basketball team.

The something different is that I had the opportunity to tape this week’s Gopher Sports podcast, which you can listen to here. I expected disastrous results, and I can affirmatively state that it could have been much worse than it turned out. It may sound like it was taped in a closet, because it was, somewhere in the basement of the Bierman Building. There would be no better sales pitch to potential donors to the facilities campaign than  the convoluted walk to what was once the athletic department’s photo lab.

Speaking into a microphone is much different than typing on a computer, and a backspace key would have been very helpful. I have a new-found respect for people who talk into microphones for a living,  say what they intend to say with an extraordinary level of accuracy. Yes, the public address announcer during the Louisville game said someone named Andrew Hollins was playing guard for the Gophers. We mocked him, but we probably didn’t notice when he got everyone else’s name right. I digress about the perils of speaking into a microphone because I got a few things wrong during the podcast.

The first of which is that I forgot to thank Steve, AKA zipsofakron, who almost single-handedly makes this blog possible. Without his timely  game reviews and #hotsprotstake-free opinion pieces, I can manage to have both a life and a blog, all at the same time. While I forgot to mention his contributions during the podcast, he is certainly not forgotten. And considering that I forgot this site’s own origin story, I hope I can be forgiven (Tubby Smith’s real first game was against Army, not Navy, and the blog was before Tubby’s first game with the Gophers.)

I didn’t get The Barn wrong though, and I hope my few minutes on a random podcast can help people appreciate what The Barn is, was, and could still be. It is a magical place that feels like a second home, and when asked about my favorite moments there, I could have talked for an hour. Watching the Gophers beat the number one team in the country in the middle of a downward spiral was one of the most unexpected and joyful moments that I can remember in a lifetime of Gopher sports. My only regret is that my mind immediately went to games played in Williams Arena, and not to the welcome home celebration the night the Gophers advanced to the Final Four that never happened. I’m not sure I’ll ever see 15,000 people will wait in line in the cold, just for the chance to cheer on a basketball team that isn’t even playing a game. I hope I do though.

And finally, Twitter. Instead of ducking the question about “twitter battles” I should have changed the subject to the wonderful #gophertwitter community, who makes the wins more fun, the losses more tolerable, and our collective absurd existence as Gopher fans more enjoyable.

 

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