There are essentially two generations of San Diego State sports fans. There are those who remember watching Marshall Faulk play, and those who came after.
(OK I guess there is a third group who remembers cheering on the San Diego Normal School Wampus Cats, but they’re also pushing 100 and hopefully doing something better than reading this blog.)
My point is, if you’re part of the post-Faulk era, like I am, odds are you fell in love with the Aztecs the same way I did: the men’s basketball team.
I’ll spare you the requisite narrative about how “Steve Fisher used to give tickets away before getting us to the point where you would have to fight in a gladiator pit just for the right to purchase a single game bench seat ticket for $800.” You know the story.
But I began school at State in 2006. Since then I’ve seen them go from annual Mountain West also-ran to perennial contender. Shortly after I graduated, NCAA Tournament bids became the norm, as did being ranked in the Top 25.
They even reached the top 5 in two different seasons! Holy shit! Remember that? That’s insane! And … well …
That feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it?
The team last made the NCAA tourney in 2015. The last time it finished ranked was 2014. The Aztecs haven’t won the Mountain West Tournament since 2011. Jeremy Castleberry is not walking through that door.
But I’m not here to speak ill of the Aztecs. Down years happen. Steve Fisher used to (deservedly) boast about how this is no longer just a team. It’s a program. And he’s right.
Still, the sellout streak is gone. The incredible (and yes, a bit arbitrary) run of wins when leading with 5 minutes left has ended. And when we last saw the team, their season ended in the MW Tourney Semis. No postseason. Not even one of those new made-up tournaments with mostly Big Sky teams played at the Barstow Convention Center.
And ,oh yeah, the most beloved Aztec coach since Don Coryell retired.
It’s impossible to deny a lot of the mystique around Aztec basketball is gone.
So here we are, ready to start the 2017-18 campaign. And for the first time in nearly a decade, I’m kinda, “meh” on it?
I’m not trying to tell anyone else how to feel. If you’re fired up about the season starting, fuck yeah. Sincerely, good for you. If the team is 8-0 heading into the Gonzaga game and I’m suddenly all in, I hope you give me shit for being a frontrunner. But last season … last season fucking sucked, man.
Maybe the trajectory of the past few years has me down. Maybe I’m just preoccupied with the meteoric rise of the the football team. Maybe I’m just another year closer to death and the crippling anxiety of everyday life is slowly crushing my spirit and pushing me over the edge into full blown nihilism. Maybe we can blame millennials.
I’ll be there Friday. In fact, I’ll be there all season, no matter what.
But I just want going to Viejas Arena on a weekday night as a release from my normal weekly schedule, not another chore. I want to be reminded of how fun it is to wake up the morning of a big game rather than dreading the disappointment of another home loss. I want to rekindle my love for reminding UNLV fans that SDSU has won 11 straight games against them.
JUST KIDDING THAT WAS NEVER NOT FUN. EAT SHIT, REBELS. WE’RE ANOTHER YEAR FURTHER FROM 1990, ASSHOLES.
I guess what I’m saying is this: teach me to love again, Aztecs.
Teach me to love again.