March Gladness: An Aggie Cinderella Story

Once upon a time there was a basketball team from an agricultural campus in Northern Utah (the Aggies).  They wanted so badly to get into the NCAA tournament dance every year but they were in a poor region called the Western Athletic Conference who usually had only one army selected from that land.  Stew Morrill’s army was the last standing in the region and even won a surprising overtime battle over THE Ohio State University of the Eastern lands. Since that 5 vs 12 War of 2001, however, much sweat and toil was spilt for the right to fight against bigger armies and lose, sometimes little battles and sometimes massacres such as the one to the stray cats of the Arizona dessert.

After 2011, They were the second to last army standing in the little battle of the CIT tournament.  They made a plea to be invited to the greater armies of the Western Mountains called the Mountain West conference.  They received an invite.  They were excited because the year before they joined, 5 armies received a VIP ticket.

It was not easy.  The top teams like San Diego State were bigger, faster and stronger soldiers.  Even Morrill’s brilliant defensive strategies and offensive attacks copied by the professional mastermind Steve Kerr and his number one sniper Stephen Curry could not dominate the greater armies of the Western Mountains with soldiers transferred from the junior college army camps.

Morrill retired and his apprentice, Tim Duryea, assistant to the regional manager, remained in his stead.  Timmy D had been in the Aggie army since 2001.  He tried to rally the troops and had some good wins but never made it to the final battle for the Western Mountains.  In his last year his Aggie troops even lost to the peasants of San Jose despite having a highly sought after soldier in Koby McEwen.  John Hartwell, commander-in-chief of the Aggie athletic army, finally thanked the former assistant to the regional manager for his services but removed him from office.  He began the search for a new lieutenant who could rally the troops to fight the good fight.

He came across a spirited general of a small school in the land of South Dakota.  He was the perfect combination of exuberance and wit.  He was so excited when offered the job but the road at first didn’t seem like it would be easy.  Koby McEwen decided to take his talents to Marquette to be a ballhog, home again, home again jiggity jog.  He was not a fan of changing the original commander who sought after him and gave him much control over the battles.

With a new general and nobody with 5 or even 4 stars on their army badge on the maxpreps.com telegraph, the regional gamblers “bet the farm” that the farmers of Logan would be no higher than the 9th greatest army in the Western Mountains.  After all, pitchforks and Big Dances don’t match.  Utah State decided their quest to prove the naysayers wrong.  They went to the Portuguese countryside in search………. of a giant.

They found their giant in 7 footer, Neemias Queta. He protected the army base with such strength that any rocks thrown his way were easily deflected. He also used his size and brute strength to throw rocks of his own into the enemy base.  Before taking on the conference of the Western Mountains, the Aggies finished the preparatory battles with only three losses.  The only truly disappointing one was on the enemy base of Provo where the Emery weapon was put into battle after being removed by the mothership NCAA for secret dealings at an unnamed theme park by the Pacific Ocean.

The fight in the Western Mountains wasn’t always easy.  The Aggies set out for a land by the Lake Tahoe to take on a pack of wolves in Nevada.  They were massacred by the two twin brothers Martin who could easily have been mistaken for the characters in Mulan with their manes of hair tamed into buns worthy of their manly prowess.  The agricultural men were able to withstand an air raid from the U.S Air Force but then suffered a narrow defeat on their home base to another pack of dogs that hailed from a land near the Pacific Ocean called Fresno.

The Aggies then led a spirited rally behind Big Blue, the animal symbol of their pride.  They rallied off 7 consecutive victories before being thwarted by the Aztec army.  After that they had their eyes on the prize.  They nearly were surprised by a battalion of potato farmers riding broncos but the craftiness of Sam Merrill helped the Aggies pull off a battle.  Merrill never rested during that battle.

The momentum came down to a big battle in Logan against the pack of wolves from Reno.  The Aggies fought the good fight, won and sweetly celebrated while a miscommunication resulted in lots of sad howling coming from a sour wolf named Jordan Caroline, who had just caught his paw in a glass case protecting a device that puts out bonfires.

The Aggies carried that momentum for 10 straight victories and claimed a portion of the Western mountains in the regular season of battle and even one in the Battle Royale in the Las Vegas. They overcame a battle of Lobo Wolves from the Newer Land of Mexico.  Those Wolves tried to surround them at all times in the battlefield but finally the Aggies charged through the mess.  The Aggies massacred the dogs of Fresno and then got revenge on the Aztec army in the Grand Finale which secured their golden ticket in the golden carriage to the big ball dance.

The ugly stepsister armies that didn’t get in were so jealous but it didn’t matter.  Captain Craig Smith conquered the Western Mountains in his first year of battle. By acquiring the Western Mountains, their ticket read #8 and they will “dance” with the husky pups of the state of Washington.  They will play in Columbus, Ohio where the army they last defeated, THE Ohio State University plays.  Aggie fans everywhere can only hope that this magical place will ignite some magic for them like it once did 18 years ago.

The jury is still out on when the clock will strike midnight but the Aggie men will just take it one dance at a time.  One thing for sure is the NCAA dance host deemed them worthy of a more favorable seed than anyone from the conference by the Pacific Ocean.  Nevada also got a #7 ticket.  As long as the basketball doesn’t turn into a pumpkin, count on Sam Merrill to continue to put it through the enemy circle.

Aggies all the way my good men!  I hope to see the Aggie faithful continue to defend the land where the sagebrush doth grow.

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