We’ve all heard it. We’ve all questioned its validity. We’ve all scoffed at the cliche saying. But now it’s time to test whether “winning cures all” here at Portland State. The timing is perfect. The Vikings clinched the right to host the men’s Big Sky Tournament Thursday and then followed up that performance with a victory for the ages in a 108-56 stomping of the once-formidable Montana on Saturday.
We’ve all heard it. We’ve all questioned its validity. We’ve all scoffed at the cliche saying.
But now it’s time to test whether “winning cures all” here at Portland State.
The timing is perfect. The Vikings clinched the right to host the men’s Big Sky Tournament Thursday and then followed up that performance with a victory for the ages in a 108-56 stomping of the once-formidable Montana on Saturday.
Over the years, Portland State students have often whined about the multitude of losing teams on campus. Sports apathy has permeated the South Park Blocks so intensely that filling up the Stott Center, which houses a maximum of only 1,500 fans, is quite the struggle.
Heck, luring a mere 1,000 fans to attend a Portland State basketball game is nearly impossible given the old ways. Students could care less. And that’s unfortunate given the quality of product the Vikings have unveiled this season.
In seasons past, underachieving squads and defeats have plagued once promising campaigns.
The most promising season for the men’s basketball program in recent memory was the 2005 team. You know, the Portland State squad that fought hard to claim the regular-season title, bringing the green-clad Viking fans out of the woodwork and into Memorial Coliseum at the Big Sky Tournament.
Well, that squad, headlined by stars Seamus Boxley and Will Funn, had just as much to do with the momentary flash of enthusiasm surrounding Portland State athletics as it did with the Vikings’ sudden downturn in popularity.
That 2005 Portland State team brought the Vikings into the public consciousness with a 19-win season, but then spelled the school’s demise and eventual return to oblivion following a semifinal loss to heavy underdog Weber State.
Winless in a tournament to which it played host, Portland State basketball lost its bravado and prestige that fateful night in March 2005. Unfortunately, the Vikings also lost their fan base.
After defeating Montana State last Thursday night, the Vikings have been afforded the opportunity for revenge-to avenge that colossal loss that still haunts Portland State athletics to this day.
Beginning March 11 at the Rose Garden, the Portland State will place everything on the line. Respect. Pride. Dignity. A championship. Prestige. A fan base. Revenge.
In many ways, the Big Sky Tournament is more meaningful than a NCAA Tournament berth, which would mark the first in school history. It’s more valuable than earning the right to say, “We’re the champs.”
At this instance and at this point in history, coming away with two wins and a championship at the Big Sky Tournament could prompt a substantial alteration in the landscape of sports at Portland State.
With much less hype, the men’s basketball team could accomplish what Jerry Glanville and Mouse Davis could not on the gridiron this season: the Viking hoopsters could legitimately restore interest in Portland State athletics.
And this is not because after witnessing the Vikings hoist the Big Sky Championship trophy, fans will experience some supernatural reaction and instantly feel an immense affinity for Portland State athletics.
Instead, fans will catch the “winning bug”-that contagious feeling of excitement that sweeps through an area when something remarkable is unfolding-and become Viking backers.
When this phenomenon is in full swing, everyone wants to be a part of it. However, as we’ve seen in the past with the 2005 version of the Vikings, if that phenomenon falls short of its desired destination, everyone instantly jumps off the wagon.
So, yes, winning does cure all. But losing also inflicts its share of pain.
Here’s hoping the Vikings get a bit of revenge this time around.