Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What It Was Like: Round Of 32 And The Creation Of The #DirtyDub

Over the course of the next week or so, I have decided to take the time to recap the most memorable experience of my life. I will be doing a full, round-by-round review of my thoughts, sights, and opinions of the NCAA tournament. Here is my second one: the Round of 32 and the creation of the #DirtyDub

After we beat American, there was another media storm in the locker room. People started asking me questions about my awkward growth phase as a high schooler. To clear that air, I was never that awkward. Yea, I had a phase where I couldn't find clothes and shoes that I could wear because I was growing so fast. I went from a size 13 shoe to a size 17 shoe in a little over a year and a half. I went from 6'3 to 6'10 in that same amount of time. There were days when I would show up to play basketball and could barely run because I was having so many pains in my legs, especially my knees. I was in an awkward phase of my life, but I was not the silly, giant oaf who couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time that I was made out to be.

We left the arena and went back to the hotel to watch Oregon vs. BYU game. In all honesty, I didn't watch much of the game. I had it on but my focus wasn't there. I found myself paying more attention to the family and friends that had made the trip to Milwaukee rather than paying attention to the game. The only portion of the game I really watched was when BYU made it a game, but then Oregon pulled away and ended up beating them handily. 

The next morning, we were given the scouting report on Oregon. Initially I was really impressed with them, and actually kind of stunned that they were a 7 seed. In my opinion they probably should have been a 4 or 5 seed. I walked out of that scouting report knowing that this was going to our most difficult game of the season to that point. Oregon was on a hot streak at the time, and had some great basketball players and a deep bench. A great recipe for a tournament run. 

After the report, we made our way back to the Bradley Center for a morning shoot around. Of course, there was media before we took the court (go figure).  When the 30 minute media period was coming to a close, I was sitting by our team manager (the Blog Father of the @VictoryLapBlog) Jeremy Davis. He started talking about how lame the traditional W that was coined by UW-Madison students. Here: 

We got to talking about the need for a change to this. Schools across that country have infamous one-handed school signs. Texas,  Texas A&M, Wichita State, Etc. all have one-handed signals that people throw up on the reg. He proposed the idea of making a W. Thats when I said we needed to name it, and I threw out the idea of naming it the "Dirty Dub." It was the first, and only named ever proposed, and I believe it has stuck permanently. 

Fast forward to the game. Everyone who saw the game knows we played like absolute crap in the first half. It was ugly and we knew it. At halftime, Coach Ryan said something that hit home with me, and I am positive that it hit home with the rest of the team: "What are you going to feel like on the bus ride home? Is it going to be a sad ride home, or is it going to be a happy one?" A picture flashed through my mind of a silent, depressing ride back to Madison. That was just not an option for me.

Second Half started, and we came out on fire. The building was electric, the fans were fired up, our bench was going crazy, and we were determined to win that game. When I say that was the loudest crowd I have ever been apart of, I mean it. The energy of the fans was ridiculous. It played a big part in the game. When an opposing team hears a crowd like that, it gets in their head and can take them out of a game, while it gets our team going. If the Kohl Center was that loud and electric on a game to game basis, it would be that toughest place to play in the country, hands down. 

When the game was virtually over after a missed three then subsequent technical foul by Oregon, I started running around pumping up the crowd. I walked in front of our bench, and threw up my first public Dirty Dub. Thats when it all started. That is when the Dirty Dub took off (somewhat). View the first one here: First Dirty Dub

The Dirty Dub grew in popularity over the next few days in Madison, but it hadn't exploded like it did in the future. After the Oregon game, we were so jacked up and confident moving forward. Survive and Advance. 

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