This is why live sports are the ultimate reality show.
In just over two hours, the Drake Bulldogs first NCAA Tournament game in 37 years provided jumping-up-and-down highs, and punch-in-the-gut lows.
It was one of those shared experiences for many of us that we’ll never forget. Central Iowans ignoring their work, huddled around televisions, and yelling at the screen. Nobody objected.
When Drake showed so much heart, and worked its way back from a 16 point deficit, it seemed like another incredible chapter in a storybook season. When the Dogs finally pulled ahead, you could hear people yelling and clapping — and many of those people didn’t really even follow Drake before this season. This team, these guys, made us care. The way they played, and even more importantly, the way they handled themselves when they weren’t playing.
The end was cruel for Drake, just as it was exhilarating for Western Kentucky. The Hilltopper coach called the NCAA Tournament the greatest show on earth, and he might be right, even when it feels like a punch in the gut.
I was proud of the way Drake kept fighting, the way the Bulldogs handled defeat with class, and perhaps most of all, the way they represented Iowa.
Once in a while a team comes along that reminds you why you love sports. This was such a team. Even in defeat.