One Special Day
Saturday was a special day for a
lot of people who are involved in the world of Cyclone athletics. It marked Dan McCarney's final game as the head coach of
Saturday's game marked a special
day for me as well. Now, I'll be the first one to admit that I probably have the
coolest job in the world for a college student. I get to do what I love. I love
Cyclone athletics. I love everything about them and everything about this
Since that was the case, I wanted
to take a day off from being a journalist. I wanted to be a fan for the first,
and last time this season. I wanted to cheer on the man who made me love
Pre-Game – What a Shame
The day started out as good as it could have for an 0-7 conference team. I tailgated with friends, family and even stopped by CyLentBob's big setup. It was great, but somber to say the least.
You see, like I mentioned before, there couldn't have been more than 35,000 fans in the stadium watching Dan McCarney's last stand. Here's a guy who built this program with his own bare hands, and we (Cyclone fans) couldn't even gather 40,000 people to send him out.
Can you blame the fans? Not
really. In reality, the crowd turnout against
So the team ran onto the field and the seniors were honored for the last time. It was just like any other senior day that we see all around the nation each year. This one was more special to me though. A lot of those guys who were called for the last time are good friends of mine. I, unlike a lot of people, know just how much they care about this football team. They didn't want to go 4-8 in 2006. They didn't want to win only one conference game. They didn't want to, but they did and that's what makes Dan McCarney's departure so hard on so many people.
Imagine if you were a kid on this year's squad. Would you not feel a little bit responsible for McCarney's situation right now? They shouldn't, but they do. Trust me on that. Here's a guy who these players love like a father, and they somewhat feel like they've let him down as players.
That's why I wanted to be a fan
The seniors had been introduced and we were all waiting for the inevitable. We were all waiting for McCarney's farewell message to the fans. To me, it was one of those occasions that I knew was coming, but I wouldn't believe it until I saw it. After watching his exiting press conference, speculating about the next coach and even talking to Mac about it, it was still hard to believe that when I came to Trice next season, Dan McCarney wouldn't be there.
It finally happened. McCarney
appeared on the big screen at Trice thanking the fans for the past 12 seasons.
At that point something came over me that I hadn't felt throughout this entire
process. I got very emotional. Tears came to my eyes. I saw an
This situation was so emotional
for me for two reasons: The first being how many people actually showed up to
see it. That made me sad as a fan. The second was, in a weird way I felt guilty
for this situation. That made me sad as a journalist. Why? Obviously I didn't
have anything to do with Mac leaving
Doesn't Mac deserve more than what
he received? Doesn't the man that made
As a fan, I felt cheated. Not at
Mac's Last Stand
The game started and at first it
looked like every other game that
With all of the emotion in the
air, it looked like it would be just another day in this year's Cyclone football
season. Little did I know then that it wouldn't turn out that way. The
Mac's final game couldn't have
ended with a better scenario.
The 21-16 win was the perfect way for McCarney to go out. It was a typical McCarney win. The Cyclones could have put the game out of reach and saved everyone some heartache. Instead, they had to bring it down to the wire. They had to put the game on the defense's shoulders to make a big stop at the end of the game. Over the past few years, when that very scenario has happened, it hasn't turned out well for McCarney.
But that Saturday was different than the close games the past few years. On that Saturday, Dan McCarney went out a winner.
If you would have told me in July
that we would end the season 1-7 in the conference and charging the field
Watching the students carry McCarney off the field was bittersweet to say the least. It was bitter because Dan McCarney made everybody, including myself, feel like they were the most important person in the world for 12 straight years. It was hard saying goodbye.
But it was also sweet, in the
sense that Mac left the same way in which he came to
For the Better
At the end of his tenure here at
When I think of Dan McCarney, the word positive comes to my mind. The fans were getting negative and the positive McCarney didn't deserve that anymore.
Mac will go somewhere different and Mac will be loved.
I am glad that I took the day off to be a fan for McCarney's last game, as the sight of watching the students carry McCarney off the field will be a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.