The illustrious Brendan Loy reached out to me last month in an attempt to help us make the #EveryTeamProject happen. Finally, I'm getting to this recap. Being late here is part laziness, part busyness, and part not sitting down to write for fear of penning something subpar. After today, though, it doesn't matter. Teams from below The Red Line rose up from all sides to storm the country. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this project, daily reading writerslikethis, to name only a few of the great 800GP travelers. The fact that today happened as the trek nears its completion feels wonderful. And to think we've finished just two days of the tournament!
It feels so long ago, now, my little jaunt out to the Northridge-Fullerton game on February 29. The NCAA tournament seems to warp time like many postseason events do, I suppose. When fantastic things happen in a playoff game or a tournament, the regular season feels distant. When the stakes are so high, it's hard to remember a time when they weren't, like that Emily Dickinson poem about pain. These things are consuming. I initially went into the Northridge-Fullerton game wanting to write about The Incredibles. Since I read this, I've always been intrigued by the question of how important we are individually. Over the years, I think Kyle has seamlessly married the idea of the group to the idea of the individual. We all know AOUEOU.
That thinking led me to this clip to get inspired. Take the two and a half minutes to watch it. It's awesome. Viewing it over and over and over, laughing and showing it to others, I thought maybe I could capitalize on the line by Edna Mode: "I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now." I went in very cheerfully believing I had followed Kyle's instructions to have a plan; I'd found a skeleton for my recap. But during and after the game, I realized I was forcing it. Nothing that happened during the game resonated within me as "distracting from the now." The only thing I could remotely think of was how a team has to forget about the previous possession when it's taking out the ball after an opposing team's basket. Trite and lame. I was so focused on having an opening that I really couldn't find a middle or an ending.
When I glance at my notes from that game, I think of the smell of a McDonald's meal wafting up to my nostrils by some kids in front of me. I remember the portly gentlemen who sat alone, loudly encouraging the home team. I go back to how the Fullerton elephant mascot, Tuffy the Titan, looked far more contemplative than menacing or ferocious. To be fair, it was a close game, an inferior Northridge team keeping with the Titans for most of the contest. It was 37-36 at halftime. The two teams played even basketball for about 25 minutes. I think the Matadors felt like they could win the game until pretty late, when the Titans began to pull away. Fullerton coasted along nicely at the end, getting into a groove and led comfortably by the time we got to the final minutes. Northridge players knew their seasons were nearing the end, but I'd venture to say the Fullerton seniors were more hopeful about their postseason chances, poised at the time to finish in second place in the Big West. They did beat Long Beach State in their final game, handing the 49ers their lone loss in conference play. Even that feels long ago now.
To this day, I associate Northridge with the catastrophic earthquake that befell it in 1994. Many in this area do. It's an indelible part of the university's history. I hear "Northridge" and I see destruction. My brain was clawing against itself trying to find a way to incorporate the earthquake motif into this write-up. Kyle's relentless re-tweeting of the rejoicing all around Hoops Nation did feel like an earthshaking of sorts. Norfolk State, Lehigh and Ohio set off tumults across the nation's sports consciousness and enraptured fans from some of the most off-the-radar schools. In truth, because of these games I think we can take Edna Mode's advice to heart today. Nothing that happened in the regular season matters anymore. We needn't look back. And, at the time of this writing, there's not even a guarantee that a single team from our side of the Red Line will make it to next weekend. Thus, we don't even need to look forward. We can just be here, with Norfolk State, with Lehigh, with Ohio and the rest of them, solely focused on the now.
at CAL STATE FULLERTON 87, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 76 02/29/2012
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 7-21 (3-13) -- J. Greene 6-14 5-6 19; S. Hicks 3-6 0-0 6; V. McGhee 3-8 0-0 8; S. Maxwell 3-11 9-12 15; F. Eteuati 2-5 2-2 7; A. Jiles IV 3-4 0-1 6; J. Hayward-Mayhew 0-3 1-2 1; A. Guei 3-4 0-0 6; M. Lizarraga 1-2 2-2 4; A. Feldman 2-4 0-0 4; D. Potts 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 19-25 76. CAL STATE FULLERTON 20-8 (11-4) -- D. Seeley 7-14 9-13 25; I. Umipig 4-9 2-2 12; K. Vaughn 6-14 7-8 24; O. Amoke 3-7 2-5 8; O. Chin 2-7 2-3 6; P. Webster 2-3 0-0 6; S. Martin 0-1 2-2 2; J. Underwood 1-1 0-0 2; O. Brown 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 26-57 24-35 87.
Three-point goals: CSN 5-17 (V. McGhee Jr. 2-7; F. Eteuati 1-2; J. Greene 2-6; S. Hicks 0-1; A. Feldman 0-1), CSF 11-30 (O. Chin 0-3; K. Vaughn 5-11; I. Umipig 2-6; P. Webster 2-3; D. Seeley 2-7); Rebounds: CSN 36 (S. Maxwell 12), CSF 33 (O. Amoke 12); Assists: CSN 11 (V. McGhee Jr. 4), CSF 18 (K. Vaughn 5); Total Fouls -- CSN 24, CSF 19; Fouled Out: CSN-S. Maxwell; CSF-O. Chin.