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COLUMN: Sweet and sour loss in Provo brings hope

Put the Team on my Back

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:02

 

I. Hate. BYU. Period.

The great thing about my general reader population is that by placing that opening line, I just gained 90 percent more readers than before. But don’t stop at this point: I’ll make it worth your time to keep reading.

If you ever need a reminder of factual reasons for wanting to defenestrate — throw out a window — those down south, taking a trip down there really stimulates the senses. I’ve actually begun to enjoy my semi-annual Aggie support visits, mainly for the comedic relief it generates.

For my favorite moment, all terrifyingly true, do I chose when someone “caught” drinking Coke on the Jumbotron, the BYU student section quietly chanting “you got swatted” when Jarred Shaw got fouled, or two students getting taken by police for a harmless sign about Cougars?

It’s too difficult to choose!

But we can’t spend all day speaking about the old women university. That’s what they thrive on. Instead, let’s turn to happier things: the terrific state of our own Aggie basketball team.

Yes, I’ve now seen them lose more games than I can ever remember watching, but looking at what we’ve been working with and how close we’ve been, this is incredible.

Consider our last three losses came to Louisiana Tech, the WAC leader, Denver, the WAC No. 2, and BYU, the West Coast Conference No. 3, all on lucky shots in the closing minute.

Consider we almost fouled out our entire team in Provo and still nearly managed the victory.

Consider we basically play seven players, which include two natural point guards and two pure centers.

Consider Spencer Butterfield going from junior college transfer to battling for time as a backup to a starter to our team leader all in a little more than three months.

Consider the hustle and heart Butterfield and Ben Clifford show on every stinking play.

Consider the leaps and bounds Shaw has made in the last month, exhibiting pure dominance down low. I love the “positive living” quote he credits for his play.

Consider the growth of Jordan Stone from benchwarmer to a solid nine points in Provo.

The list continues, but the main point is this: This team is growing ever more quickly, and come WAC tournament time, they’re going to be an extremely tough out, and with the entire team returning next season, this could be the ultimate building year. Though we have to say goodbye to Kyisean Reed, we’ll be adding back two starters and future recruits.

Down at the Marriott Center, I realized all in all, it was alright. We’re only on the rise, and I would much rather lose as an Aggie than be the winning team at that moment.

As we sung the Scotsman proudly, it served like the soothing Shire music that calms Frodo and reminds him of his purpose for visiting Mordor — or was it Provo?

 

– Mark is an obsessive Aggie fan that moonlights as an almost unbiased Statesman writer. He is majoring in business administration and preparing for medical school. Comment at m.hop@aggiemail.usu.edu or his blog, www.spectrumagic.blogspot.com.

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