Make no mistake, everyone in USF Softball is rooting for Ken Eriksen this weekend in OKC... including Team USA/Texas legend Cat Osterman.
When you travel with a Delta Platinum member, you do things like drink free screwdrivers at 6:10 a.m. in the Crown Club. So I write this from the skies between TIA and Memphis with a pleasant buzz as we eventually head to Will Rogers International Airport for an historic moment in Bulls history.
I'll try and give you as much color to this weekend as we can here, but on the field it comes down to this; we gotta win today against Oklahoma and Keilani Ricketts, who Ken Eriksen compared to Babe Ruth (also, apparently Ken knows him some Sir Mix-A-Lot), or we gotta win four in a row to get to the Championship Series. It's a tough road to hoe, but honestly that's not why I flew out here. I'm here because as of 1pm today, The Curse is broken, and this entire trip is a celebration.
For those of us that suffer with the Bulls not just on Fall Saturdays or during men's basketball, the glass ceiling for USF has always been competing to the end. After four near-misses, a team wearing USF colors is competing on the biggest stage in their sport. This isn't the farthest any team sport has ever gotten at USF (women's golf in '87 finished fourth in the NCAA Championships, men's soccer has 3 quarterfinal appearances, and our now deposed co-ed rifle team won several NCAA individual national championships), but it is the first time a "spectator-friendly" team sport has made it to the big stage. And it's so appropriate that softball is the team to break through. Ken Eriksen has been a fantastic USF alum and coach for decades, and seeing him finally getting a chance to vie for the title is wonderful.
Plus this team is just so incredibly likable. We love Ilaura on the iTalk series, Feed The Mouse, Eriksen doing things like getting the students fired up just by pointing at them during a techno song when the beat switches... even Laura Fountain appropriately pointing out the horrendous umpiring during the Super Regional. They seem like such nice kids, and they play their butts off, which is all you can ever ask from any Bulls team. So we're here to cheer them on to victory... but make no mistake, we are the clinical definition of happy to be here. And having some Spurs-Thunder in town makes it all the better for an NBA junkie like me.
I'll add as many
drunken degenerate drinking and gambling stories tales from the road as I can this week. Plus Jamie will be joining us tomorrow, which is good because corrupting him is one of my favorite pastimes. But no matter the results on the diamond, this is a celebration, and plenty of diehard Bulls are making the trip. It's been a long time coming.