Memories of Final Four spur hopeful future successes

Column

It’s hard to believe that the men’s basketball team’s run to the Final Four was seven months ago.

It seems like only yesterday I was working my old shift at the Andover YMCA and checking on the trash container in front of the building, when I noticed there were less than 10 cars in our parking lot. After checking on the trash, I went back inside and approached the front desk. I noticed that the on-duty manager had brought his own flat screen TV from home to watch the game.

I asked if he cared if I watched the game with him and the other on-duty membership associate. He said it was fine, since he knew there weren’t many people in the building. We ended up having our own little watch party at the front desk, complete with the manager ordering pizza for us to enjoy while we cheered on the Shockers.

Sadly, as we all know, the team fell to Louisville, who eventually won the NCAA Championship. Still, the team’s trip to the Final Four was a historic moment for our university.

Not only was it the first time the Shockers had been to the Final Four since 1965. WSU only lost by four points in the game, suggesting to me that if some things had gone more in the Shockers’ favor, we would have gone on to the championship.

In addition, the run to the Final Four put Wichita on the map again. Instead of being known as that one town in the middle of the United States that sells planes, we now can say that in recent memory, we had a team compete in the Final Four contest. It’s something of a bragging right that we share that accomplishment with Lawrence and Manhattan.

I understand Gregg Marshall and the team want to move on from last season — it would be foolish for them not to. However, I hope they remember what they did for our college and city by going to the Final Four. They reminded the country where Wichita is and they made a name for our university. Here’s to hoping we have another successful basketball season; then again, when don’t we?