The first is in Lawrence, Kan., in a meaningless football game on a Saturday afternoon, so little at stake that it was put on at 11 a.m. without a major national network paying it any attention.
Yet, there it was, as the final gun went off there was utter jubilation, the crowd, as it was, rushing the field, the goal posts being torn down, then carried from the stadium.
It was as if Dorothy and Toto had returned to Kansas.
The Jayhawks had finally won a Big 12 Conference game.
That’s how it was in the Midwest, but what of the Far West?
As newspaper publisher Horace Greeley popularized, we now “Go West, young man, go West!”
We find ourselves in Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, where Southern California has just kicked a game-winning field goal to stun unbeaten No. 4 Stanford.
While this game had far greater national implications, the scene was quite similar as fans rushed the field overcome with so much glee and/or alcohol that as many as 10 of them had to be taken to local hospitals for treatment of injuries as serious as a broken leg.
Two scenes we have concentrated on, but we beg to bring in another, for this one was also of national importance, being played in Auburn, Ala., between longtime, bitter rivals Georgia and Auburn, the game down to a fourth and 18 play for a trailing Auburn.
Unleashed was an impossible pass — a prayer, if this fits your beliefs — one that seemed ready to settle into the hands of either of two Georgia defenders who had the play smothered, only to bounce lazily in the air behind them where receiver Ricardo Louis could catch it in full stride and romp into the end zone with the winning touchdown.
Again, the crowd was sent into a frenzy.
“I looked around (the stands) before the play and it looked like everybody was sad, heads down,” Louis said. “And it kind of hurt me, because we wanted to keep what we’ve been having going on.”
What Auburn had going on was a season that now stands at 10-1 coming out of nowhere, as miraculous as the play itself.
By now you must be wondering why we bring up these scenes at this moment, and, be assured, there is a good reason.
College football, you see, is as special a sporting event as there is anywhere, except maybe the pure insanity that surrounds World Cup soccer.
It is important to remember this today, for it is difficult to understand the joy of the game the way things have gone here lately.
It is, perhaps, a hangover from the devastating loss to arch-rival Pitt when standing on the verge of a first national championship, a day that lives in West Virginia infamy, for it was not only a football loss but a loss of a football coach.
It has not been the same since, although there were winning games and winning moments, but for the most part we have found ourselves in the quiet of the losing locker room over the last year and a half, our pregame celebrations for more gala than the way we have had to drink away our sorrows in the shadow of defeat.
The aura of college football is being worn away by the sheer commercialism of the collegiate sports scene, watching wretched infighting within the administration and runaway contracts for coaches and athletic directors while they continually cry for more money.
The players, they don’t get paid and the walk-ons don’t even get fed and the graduate assistants don’t get living wages.
It’s reached the stage where a friend was telling me the other day, and he purchases suite tickets for football and up front cushioned seats in basketball, that his tickets come to $330 per game in football and $70-some per ticket in basketball.
That’s $330 per game to watch a four-win football team that had to schedule Georgia State and William & Mary to get them.
That’s why this weekend, to see fans and students and even players enjoying the games the way they were meant to be enjoyed, brought a little bit of a reminder back of what college sports are supposed to be about.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.
Fairmont Senior closes out East Fairmont for Section 1 title: PHOTOS
When they cut down the nets Friday night at the Woody Williams Armory, the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears were the ones holding the scissors.
Each player took home a piece of the twine, a small memento from a 59-51 victory over East Fairmont in the Section 1 championship game.
Cooper leads FSU past Bobcats, 70-62
Brendan Cooper played liked a first-team all-league selection even though he strangely wasn't, and Chase Morgan did what he does best in the game's final 1:18 – hit shots.
The result was a 70-62 Fairmont State victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Buie returns to WVU after a year away
It’s nearly every little boy’s dream to become a college football athlete, to play in a stadium before 60,000, 70,000, 100,000 fans, to wear the colors of a university proudly. There are cheerleaders and groupies; there’s your name in headlines, your picture in the newspapers.
WVU looks to back up Huggins’ prediction
It was after Kansas defeated West Virginia University, 83-69, a month ago in Lawrence, Bob Huggins reached into his deep library of inspirational sayings and came out with one from Abe Lemons, of all people, the one-time Texas coach who never was at a loss for words.
TCU tough matchup for WVU women
West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey is trying to find a happy balance now for his team as it enters its second season, the Big 12 Tournament.
West Liberty, Glenville, Charleston advance to MEC semi-final
Charleston out-lasted Wheeling Jesuit, 91-85, in overtime in the first quarterfinal of the Mountain East Conference Tournament presented by GoMart on Friday afternoon.
Andre Harris, who finished with a game-high 22 points, picked up a steal and then converted a traditional three-point play to put Wheeling Jesuit up 76-73 with :21 seconds left.
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.
Fairmont Senior bullies Ritchie County to claim regional title: PHOTOS
While remnants of a winter storm remained outside of the Woody Williams Armory, No. 1 Fairmont Senior was on fire inside, beating Ritchie County, 69-31, for the Region I title.
It was business as usual for Fairmont Senior, which will advance to the state tournament beginning next Wednesday in Charleston.
North Marion tops Webster, 76-48
North Marion rebounded from a sectional championship loss to beat Webster County, 76-48, on the road Thursday night to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
The Lady Huskies, which had four of their five starters in double figures, used a team effort to get the win.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
- More Sports Headlines
- Fairmont Senior closes out East Fairmont for Section 1 title: PHOTOS