April 4, 2004
WE’RE GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP, BABY!!!
Before the game, we all knew what we had to do: play the way we’ve been playing in order to make it this far. Now, of course Coach Hewitt had a nearly-perfect game plan, which the team executed remarkably. Nevertheless, the outcome of the game pretty much fell on our shoulders.
It is slightly difficult to explain this feeling. It’s like living a dream, in that this is something athletes and coaches alike, at this level, always talk about, but a place few ever reach.
This whole experience reminds me of my junior year in high school at Arthur Hill. Lead by Jason Richardson, we defeated several teams that everyone felt we would lose to. Teams such as Flint Northwestern, which we lost to in our last regular season game, as well as Flint Central (or Northern) in the regional championship game. We were the underdogs then, just as my current Georgia Tech team is now.
No matter who we beat or by how much, we have been underestimated throughout the season. The mass media sources had us picked to finish 7th in the ACC, and we weren’t even ranked in the pre-season. No one even expected us to make it to the NCAA Tournament…except for us.
That family concept has been the cornerstone of this team, and our success, since we started pre-season conditioning in late October, early November. We have pushed each other through in times when we, on our own, might not have made it otherwise. We have encouraged one another and offered support in times of need. We have even argued and fought, just like brothers! All of this has brought us together, and there isn’t anything the media, fans, or other teams can do or say to break that bond. We are here because we have worked hard, and there is no denying it.
What makes this season, and overall experience so meaningful and special is the fact that in 2, 3, or even 10 years from now, it will be forever written in history that this Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball Team was the first to go to the National Championship game. Therefore, after Monday’s contest, regardless of the outcome, every member of this family can look back with pride and pleasure, and say to themselves: “They can’t erase what we were!”