Oh What a Night

2 Dec

Senior Night. It comes every year, but sometimes it resonates more than others. Saturday fell into that category. Part of the reason is because it was my Senior Night too.

I’ve covered the team for four seasons now, writing player features from weekly press conferences my freshman year and then moving to the press box to also cover games starting in my sophomore year.

I started out as younger than most of the guys on the team, and now I’m probably older than most of the guys on the team. Older people are not kidding when they say time flies.

My first year at Kansas State was coach Bill Snyder’s first year back. I watched the team win six games my freshman year. The next year, seven. The next year, ten.

This year, the Wildcats won eleven and the program’s third conference championship in 117 years of football. They’re likely in a BCS bowl and possibly have a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback.

I went down to the sideline for the last five minutes. I stood about three feet from the field as John Hubert burst into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game. The crowd erupted, and I have never heard cheering so loud. 

I didn’t think I would be emotional. But I was.

 

I shaded my eyes from the stadium lights to see Willie the Wildcat up on top of the press box holding up a “Big XII” sign and leading the crowd in “K-S-U!” I had been sitting in the same press box minutes earlier, and not only was it the last time for me to be there as a Kansas State student, but it was also the final game the Dev Nelson press box will ever see. It will be demolished in a couple weeks, replaced with a fancy new development that awards the seats we media people used to have to people who will pay lots of money to sit there. We’ll be moved higher into the sky, further away from the action. If I come back as a member of the media, I’ll need to invest in some binoculars.

No, it will never be just the same again, even if I find myself back covering Kansas State in the future, and that makes me a little sad.

But what an incredible four years, and what a fantastic finish.

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