Monday, March 25, 2013
FGCU: AMERICA'S TEAM
In a college sports world that has turned into one giant cess pool, FGCU is a great cleanser.
In just three days, this basketball team in southwest Florida has managed to rinse away the
slime and grime left over from the Sandusky, Fine, and Te'o scandals.
Playing with unbridled joy and enthusiasm, FGCU has been a breath of fresh air in a sport
that has long been dirty with illegal recruiting practices, agents, and power-hungry coaches
who chase the almighty dollar.
As a program with no tradition or television contract, FGCU is the deodorant that covers up
the stench coming from the schools who have bucked tradition for superconferences and the
pot of gold at the end of the television network rainbow.
In the blink of an eye, coach Andy Enfield and a bunch of players that few other programs
wanted, have managed to do what the NCAA hasn't been able to do in the last decade. They
have brought a smidgen of innocence back to college sports, cleansing it, while making the
games fun again.
Man, has it ever been fun to watch them beat heavy favorites and bust NCAA brackets. The
basketball team has been an aerial circus, with jaw-dropping dunks punctuated with mile-wide
grins as they announce their presence with authority. They are part, "Flying Wilenda's" and
part, "Phi Slamma Jamma", the 1983 Houston Cougars basketball team that intimidated teams
with their high-flying, dunking act. FGCU calls themselves, "Dunk City" and that name will
They don't celebrate by going "Gangnam style" or with the "Harlem Shake". FGCU is an
original and whatever dance they are doing, it sure it entertaining. Everything FGCU does,
seems to capture our imagination. They are not scared of the big stage, in fact, they are reveling
in it, and it's fun to watch. It seems all so pure, so clean, and so innocent.
The first two wins by FGCU in the NCAA tournament were far more fascinating than the
last 26 strung together by the Miami Heat. The two consecutive wins have somehow become
far more sweeter than the two consecutive national championships captured by the Florida
Gators in the last decade. Their rags-to-riches story is far more compelling than the rags-to-riches
story of the Miami Hurricanes, who have a better than good shot at winning it all.
On the national scene, nobody cares much about the Canes, Gators, or Heat. That's because
FGCU has become America's Team. We are consumed with this story. We are fascinated by
it. We are enamored with the players. We love the coach. And we even love the coaches' wife.
FGCU is David in the land of Goliath and we love underdogs. That's what FGCU will be when
they take on Florida, but to everybody outside of Gainseville and those who wear the orange
and blue, the Eagles will be our favorites. The bandwagon is now open and it's standing room
The ride is too good not to hop on. I hope it never ends.