What do we do now?
The games are done, the seasons are recapped, and itís too pre for the previews. Weíre so starved for any sort of UA sports news that we get excited when we hear that someone saw Willie Tuitama at the bank and he completed his transaction with pinpoint accuracy. Here are a few additonal suggestions to save your sanity this summer:
Revisit the Jim Click Hall of Champions
Did you follow my recommendation and go last summer? If not, you have to make the trip this year. If you did visit last year, you have to make the trip again because theyíve got great new stuff. The 1994 Fiesta Bowl trophy is prominently displayed with its un-fiesta-like old-tree-stump design. Thereís a nice collection of items commemorating Coach Olsonís induction into the basketball hall of fame. The west wall is filled with trophies, including the beloved 1941 Border Conference football championship prize to inspire your still-waiting-for-another-one heart.
The huge new addition is a wall chronicling Wildcats who went on to play pro sports, but Iím a sucker for the olde tyme stuff so I spent a lot of time admiring the baseball mitt and St. Louis Browns cap that belonged to Hal Warnock, who excelled in baseball for Pop McKale, track for Tex Oliver and basketball for Fred Enke during his time at the UA in the Ď30s. Bear Down forever, Hal. And get down to the Hall, you.
Stock up on memorabilia
If itís not enough to annoy your loved ones with all the time you spend on sports, twist the knife a little more by spending a bunch of money on old sports stuff. Ever since I was a kid Iíve collected felt pennants when my teams won something and Iíve been doing a lot of catch-up on my UA collection in recent years. One of my favorite items is a pennant from our first bowl victory. Quick, name the game. Thatís right, the 1986 Aloha Bowl, a 30-21 victory over North Carolina. After a while I figured, what the heck, I may as well start collecting the losses too. My oldest is from the 1968 Sun Bowl, our third bowl ever. If anyone has anything lying around from our heartbreaking 14-13 loss to Drake in the 1949 Salad Bowl, you let me know.
Count conference championships
The summer is a great time for living in the past, because history doesnít give you sunburn. If you ask any true Wildcat fan how many league titles we have in basketball youíll immediately hear, ďEleven.Ē Itís true that Lute Olson has brought 11 Pac-10 championships to Tucson but did you know 11 is also the number of Border Conference titles we own? Here they are if youíre keeping score at home: 1932, 1936, 1940, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951 (thatís a 6-peat), and 1953. Add the 1976 WAC championship and overall there are 23 league hoops titles in Arizona history. So, yeah, weíve been pretty good at the bouncy ball for a very long time.
Scratch your head at other teamsí championships
So Oregon State did it. The Beavers overcame their sixth-place finish in the Pac-10 and successfully defended their College World Series crown. OSUís run was í97-BasketCats-esque, except that UA team was a year away and this Beaver team was a year ago. How did they pull it off again? Pitching, pitching and more pitching. Lost in OSUís losing league record is the fact they led Pac-10 in earned run average. To go far in the postseason you need to win a lot of games without your #1 starter, and the Beavers did just that. Who was second in the Pac in pitching this year? Your Arizona Wildcats, who swept OSU during the regular season. Just another reason to want Next Year to get here quick.
Brush up on your ASU jokes
Q: What do ASU students do when one of their teams wins the biggest game?
A: I don't know. Most of them werenít around yet in 1986.
Revisit silly ideas
Way back when I first started doing this I thought it would be funny if college football was like boxing and anybody who beat the #1 team instantly become the new #1. It turns out not only was that not an original joke but someone took it very seriously and put together an entire site tracing the mythical championship belt back to the very first college football game.
So I looked it up and using this system the Arizona Wildcats were the #1 team in the country a total of 12 weeks spread out over five different seasons in the Ď90s. On top of that we actually would have finished two seasons at #1: 1993 after beating ASU and Miami, and 1995 with the season-ending win over the Sun Devils. Maybe we should get behind this non-original idea after all.
Listen to your obsession
I know a guy who has counted out the exact number of Q-tips to match the days remaining until September 1 so every morning when he cleans his ears he knows heís one day closer to hearing the Arizona Stadium crowd. OK, so itís me. Wax on.
Get your hopes up once again.
Whatís the point of predicting losses if youíre two and a half months away from the first game? Football and baseball are bringing back a bunch of starters and thatís a good thing. Basketball lost a bunch of starters, but that may be a good thing too. Thereís no reason not to spend each hot sweaty day thinking about all the glory that is to come.
Pass me another Q-tip.
[Iíll be celebrating my independence from the keyboard next week but Iíll be back on July 9 with something new.]
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