Please Don't Stop the Music
Ah, the second week in May. What a great time to be in Waco. Final exams are over, summer school has not yet begun and the oppressive humidity that a Central Texas summer brings is still a few weeks away.
11:35 P.M. THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2009
It's also a time to congratulate those graduating seniors, those leaving programs they invested countless hours in and those whose contributions won't soon be forgotten.
Seniors like football's Jason Smith (my new neighbor in St. Louis), Dan Gay and Kirby Freeman will now pursue careers in the NFL. Our much-heralded senior class in men's hoops could very likely end up in four different countries a year from now as CJ, Dugat, Mamadou and Kevin Rogers are each destined to continue their careers, though likely in different leagues, if not continents.
As much hype and celebration as graduation can provide, it can also be a cumbersome and bittersweet period. The bitter pill that is the "real life" is about to be swallowed and many students will wake up Sunday morning with the realization that they are now "former students."
I can assure those of you that are about to leave your friends, your part-time jobs and perhaps even the Jewel on the Brazos, your return home to your alma mater is always welcome...and you'll be back.
So, while Vitamin C's tear-jerking anthem "Graduation" may still ring in your heads this week as you tear down your Animal House posters, give away your Greek t-shirts and look for acceptable furniture for your new apartment, keep in mind that the foundation you've created at Baylor (socially, academically, professionally) will all be virtues that you'll get to reap the rewards from for many years to come.
After all, you'll have plenty of reasons to come home in the next year.
Our football team can finally say they ended the season on a strong note as our young, overachieving team certainly got better with each week towards the end of the season. What we have to look forward to now is obvious: a more seasoned (and already immensely talented) quarterback in Robert Griffin, a second-year coach who has proven to be Big 12-ready and an incoming recruiting class that ranked far from the bottom of the conference. A recent blog on Newsday mentioned Baylor as the nation's top program on the rise and Griffin has been noticed in several publications for being a `top five' player in the league.
Added to that, the Bears play a much more realistic schedule to help meet their goals of ending a bowl game drought. We can expect a much-improved team fully capable of starting the year with a win when BU takes the field in the season opener at Wake Forest on September 5.
For Scott Drew's hoops squad, it's hard to believe that it's already been five weeks since our enchanted postseason run ended on 34th street in New York City. Drew has inked a trio of four-star recruits including nationally ranked Mark McLaughlin. Added to that, BU fans saw the maturation of Tweety Carter down the stretch as the next leader of our front court. Forwards Anthony Jones and Quincy Acy will only continue to get better and, perhaps most importantly, we still have a secret weapon in LaceDarius for two more years.
Stay tuned to BaylorBears.com over the summer for the full release of BU's 2009-2010 schedule and of course periodically check-in with Chris Yandle's Full Court Press blog for just about anything else hoops-related.
So that about puts the kibosh on our first year of "Cuttin In Line." I hope you've enjoyed reading this page from time to time as I stood with the diehard Baylor faithful on a weekly basis through the course of the near nine-month-long football and basketball seasons.
From our opening night against Wake Forest when the nation was introduced to Griffin, to our most convincing win over A&M since nearly the inception of electricity, to a win over Texas in the Big 12 tournament none of us will ever forget, it's been a year of unparalleled exposure for our school.
So, starting in August, let's do it all again. I'll be ready.