Thursday, May 12, 2005

Winning championships in obscurity

The alma-mater won it's 5th NCAA championship in Men's Volleyball on Saturday night. I made a point to stay up and watch the coverage on ESPN2 as it's not often you get the opportunity to watch your school win a national title.

I was struck-- even as I was while a student and on the receiving end of such drubbings-- at the stark difference between #1 and well...everybody else in this sport. In the eighties, while UCLA was winning many of it's 18 NCAA titles in Men's Volleyball they would routinely arrive at Firestone Fieldhouse ranked #1 while the host Waves were a perennial top-5 team. They would win every time, sometimes in just 3 or 4 games.

In 1985 and 1986 when Pepperdine also won the NCAA title, roles would be reversed and results would be very similar. For whatever reason, the cream of the crop in this sport--regardless of the year--is the cream of the crop and this year seemed no different.

As I watched the tv coverage I recalled the '85 title-match which I was fortunate enough to attend also at Pauley Pavilion. Beating the Bruins this year on their home court for the title was truly delicious and something I'll treasure for years.

This is the part where I, as a true fan of the school, should show my school pride by digitally-singing the fight song for you here. But I won't embarrass you or myself by quoting that seriously awkward and dorky lyric.

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