Being a CSU fan is like being a fan of a broken down 1984 Chevy. While it may be able to coast down I-25 at 75 mile per hour, there is always a chance of it letting you down when you need it most.
While this can be said about sports teams all across the country in the MLB, NFL and NBA – including most teams in the city of Chicago, to which I can personally attest – the Rams have a special way of letting us down. I have learned over my three years at CSU, as well as this past year specifically, that CSU athletics are as reliable as a beat up clunker in the way that it breaks the hearts of fans, young or old.
Not to mention in all major sports, fall and spring.
Looking back on the 2013-14 women’s volleyball season, we constantly heard that it was a “rebuilding year” with the loss of four seniors, three of which started last season. There were big shoes to fill on the court.
With a surprising step-up from middle blockers Samantha Peters and Kelsey Snider, defensive specialist Jamie Collaizi and outside hitters Michelle Lawrence and Marlee Reynolds, this season was without a doubt a success. The Rams went undefeated in the regular season until suffering from a five-set defeat to San Diego State.
While CSU came close to losing much earlier in the season with two games going into the final set, the Rams were a comeback team that did not want to give up. Because of their success in the regular season, the Rams went onto the NCAA tournament for the 19th year in a row.
Here is where the heartbreak kicks in. The squad trailed two sets to none to Cal State Northridge in the first set and CSU gave up several errors that made it hard to wage a comeback. With the best season start in CSU history, fans were let down by a team many of which thought be would be an easy win.
CSU volleyball was picked to finish second in the Mountain West for the first time in four years behind SDSU. A season building up to a second round advance ended in the final spike landing on the Rams side. With the final point, all the excitement and record breaking accomplishments was over.
It almost seemed like history was repeating itself in the spring when women’s basketball went on to have its first 20-plus win season in 11 years, not to mention the Rams clinched the regular season conference title.
Headed into the MW tournament title game in Las Vegas, the Rams were not at their highest point. With two losses in the final four games of the season, CSU struggled from behind the arc and wasn’t making the shots it was in the beginning of the season. It was not expected for a team changing almost every spot on the starting line-up to be that great.
With a pre-season prediction of seventh for the Rams, this season surpassed it by a long shot and like many other teams in Ram Country, we were all let down. In the final game of the tournament, with a bid to the NCAA tournament on the line, CSU fell early to Fresno State and was not able to break the gap.
On the sound of the final buzzer, CSU was out of the NCAA. It had finished the season in second place within the conference and would leave the court empty handed like many seasons before. Also, it’s important to mention the Rams lost in the first round of the WNIT to Southern Utah State, quite a step down from the big-time tournament.
The women’s volleyball and basketball teams were the biggest let downs of the year because they both had such record-breaking seasons, along with reaching first place in the conference. While men’s basketball suffered this season compared to the past two years, its heartbreak came in the final two minutes of the first round of the MW championship game.
With less than two minutes to go against Utah State, the Rams were up ten points. At the conclusion of the game, CSU headed to the locker room to pack its bags because the season was over.
Heartbreak comes in any sport, any team and any city. With another year on the horizon of football, basketball and volleyball, Ram fans should expect nothing less than the best from your teams, but keep in mind at any point your favorite team can and will let you down.
Being a CSU fan is a skill. You have to be able to watch games online, listen on the radio as well as travel with the team to near or far, but never forget we cheer for the love of the game because we are CSU fans. The let down just comes with being a fan.
Never let the fear of striking out keep you from cheering for your team.
Collegian Assistant Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.