A love letter to the Gonzaga Bulldogs (or, if you prefer, “Man-Zags”)

I started writing this on the morning of the 2017 men’s basketball national championship game, excited yet cautiously hopeful that Gonzaga would pull off a miraculous victory against North Carolina. When the game got out of hand in the last few minutes, I thought I’d never post this – but I didn’t delete the draft. Now, in July, close enough to the midway point between the end of the 2016-17 season and the beginning of the 2017-18 season, I’m going to click “publish,” as part of my duties of #Zag4Lyfe.

Also: the photo at the top is from when the Zags won the 2008-09 regular-season WCC title, and it was taken on an iPhone 3G, so please excuse the terrible quality.

Enjoy this nostalgia trip.

I only spent a year and a half at Gonzaga University – from September 2008 to December 2009 – but the entities that positively influenced my time there are with me to this day, and I thought it only right to salute these deserved people, places, and experiences.

This is for you, weekly scrambles during the preseason to find out which channel the Gonzaga basketball games were on, and then figuring out if the campus-provided cable lineup carried it.

To watch parties at the COG, where Peachy Kay was overjoyed to swipe you in, and watching the Zags fight valiantly but eventually lose to Michigan State, because on this day, the Izzone had the honor of cheering their team to victory.

To Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Austin Daye, Micah Downs, and Matt Bouldin, the first starting lineup I ever knew.

To everyone who camped out for games against St. Mary’s or Wake Forest or whatever game was deemed big enough for the Sunday afternoon ticket distribution to come with a tent number and the promise of better seats if you were only willing to brave the elements.

To the Kennel, which was first a sanctuary for preserving the Gonzaga home win streak, but remains one of the most formidable places to play in the country.

To the Spokesman-Review article posted behind the counter at Ultimate Bagel immortalizing Dan Monson’s 1998-99 squad and the Zags’ first trip to the Elite Eight.

To our fearless leader Dave (who in a bureaucratic intervention later became “Mr. Fague”) and the rest of the pep band; to blasting “The Impression I Get” and “Hey Baby” and “American Idiot” (and never speaking of times past where “Sweet Caroline” was a mainstay in our repertoire).

To “Remember the Name” and “Thunderstruck” and “Zombie Nation” and all the songs that defined Gonzaga basketball.

To being a Cinderella for so long, and suddenly not.

Thank you for the brief time I shared a campus with you, Gonzaga men’s basketball, and for the continued enjoyment from afar, from then to now and for years to come.

100 things: Redux (41-60)

Welcome to part 3 of “This 25-year-old revisited her teen years. What she discovered about herself will shock you.” [ Part 1 / Part 2 ]

  1. Being in the company of a good friend
    I’d amend this to “an old friend” today. I’m old enough now to have “old friends” in that worldly, nostalgic sense.
  2. Being alone when it’s really necessary
    Spoons, y’all. Running out before the end of the day, with forced human interaction in the form of meetings and maybe even class still ahead, can be painful.
  3. Philip Glass
    There’s a kind of heaviness to what I feel when I hear Philip Glass, especially the Metamorphosis series. I remember the person who introduced me to Glass, and how our friendship has changed over the years, but how comparatively distant it was back then. I remember listening to a playlist that was about 25% Glass on a long, silent bus ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon the year after I graduated from high school. I remember clinging onto Glass’s music at Gonzaga, where I desperately needed to let go of aspects of my past, but was unwilling to try. Why was this on a list of “100 things that make me happy,” when looking back, “happy” is the last word I’d assign to what I still feel when I listen to his music today?
  4. Apple products
    I can’t help it. I was raised on System 7 (and MS-DOS for games, but, shush). I remember the start-up sequence that included the creepy face. I’ve only ever owned MacBooks and iPods. I had a phone with iTunes before iPhones were a thing. It’s in my nature. *silently thanks the computer gods that Sims 4 finally came to Mac*
  5. New Zealand
    I visited in 2006. Yes, that was ten years ago. Yes, I’m sad it’s been so long. Yes, I went on a Lord of the Rings film location tour. No, I didn’t meet Peter Jackson (though the aforementioned tour did take us past his house). Yes, I would take any (free) opportunity to go back. (Fun fact: if you search for my first name + maiden name + new zealand, you might find some of the photos I took on that trip. I put them up on my old Flickr account and a bunch of websites subsequently used for their own purposes because I didn’t know to put a stricter Creative Commons license on them on account of being 15-almost-16 years old.)
  6. The view from an airplane window at 40,000 ft.
    None of these were taken at anywhere near 40,000 feet, but I still enjoyed the views:
  7. Going to see SF Giants games with friends
    I have been to Giants games with friends four times ever, with a different friend each time, and I’m 98% sure at least three of those times occurred after I wrote this list. Maybe all four, and I was just trying to one-up my own pathetic social life. For what it’s worth, those four times – whenever they happened – were pretty great, and I am fairly sure the Giants won each time.
  8. Laughcrying
    Or, as regular people call it, “laughing so hard that you begin crying.”
  9. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crack-Up”
    “Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering – this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary daytime advice for everyone. But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work – and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” [ full essay set ]
  10. Being familiar with a city
    I was thinking of Spokane when I wrote this, although not having a car when I lived there actually meant that what I was familiar with was Gonzaga’s campus and Division Street from the Northtown Mall to the convention center. Now, I attribute this entry fully to Iowa City. Iowa City is so damn walkable that I knew where everything was within a few months of moving there in spite of not having a car.
  11. Playing music for others
    Telemann as a child violinist, Telemann as a [severely depression-ravaged] almost-music major.

  12. Having something come easily to me
    I can’t say for sure what made me write this entry, whether I was thinking more generally or of something specific, but when I revisited this portion of the list I thought immediately of alto sax. My first year in the Gonzaga pep band, I played flute. When the other two fellow freshman flautists in the band decided to switch to piccolo for the remainder of the season, I felt bitter and left out even though it was literally the same music and even as a flautist who has dabbled in piccolo I can attest to the fact that flute is a much friendlier instrument. Incidentally, my friend from high school was looking to get rid of her alto sax, and it ended up with me the summer before my second year at Gonzaga. I was able to learn the instrument over the summer (for what it’s worth, the sax and flute note fingerings are the same; I just had to learn how to play using a reed) in time for a show the pep band did at freshman orientation. And then I was one of just two of the band’s alto saxophonists chosen to be a part of the 30-person band to go to Seattle for Gonzaga’s annual game there.
  13. Flash mobs of the epic variety
    God, I was so obsessed with the word “epic.”
  14. Really really hot (gay) tenors.
    I’m sure there’s an inside joke here somewhere to which I am no longer privy. I don’t even remember if this happened in high school or at Gonzaga, when I was actually in a choir. :(
  15. Knowing someone cares
    I’m sensing a theme here. See #41, at least.
  16. Free stuff!
    My sophomore year in college, my suitemate and I became obsessed with finding websites that would send us free stuff. Any free stuff – we really took the “poor college student” trope to a whole new level. Soon enough, our suite was filled with stickers, water bottles, adult diapers, granola bars, VHS tapes we couldn’t play, and so, so much more.
  17. Hating on Republicans
    Only when they say asinine things, and only in my mind. But this goes for anyone now, really (including Dems and whoever else).
  18. Actually finding a school that’s right for me
    I didn’t learn I’d gotten into Iowa until about a month after I wrote my original list, but my intuition in writing this was absolutely correct. Really, all I needed was that initial visit (which was just a pit stop in Iowa City with a friend on our way to Chicago) to know where I belonged. While I’ve obviously left Iowa City since attending school there, I met my now-husband while I was at Iowa, which was kind of an okay thing I guess.
  19. Acapella singing
    I could never be in an a capella singing group. Too much reliance on individual talent that, frankly, I don’t have. But the group at Gonzaga, Big Bing Theory, introduced me to a capella, and I’m glad I could at least start out at a school where that type of singing was pretty universally adored.
  20. Being a fairly good speller
    Third place in an elementary school spelling bee isn’t that bad.