The last few weeks have been a time of reflection combined with excitement for the future that Yogi has worked so hard to create.
It is my hope that his experiences, especially the process of reaching his recent decision, have taught him a ream of life lessons that have a positive impact on who he is and what he loves to do.
He has certainly learned that fans can be unrelenting.
As I go back and sift through the plethora of comments and analysis on whether he should stay or go, it’s easy to form a less than flattering opinion of the fan base. Forgive me if I’m a little jaded coming fresh off of a season where the IU men’s basketball team was booed at home by their own “fans.” Comments such as “Good luck overseas” were comical at best.
We can accept constructive criticism, but social media allowed some people to hide behind the keyboard and their cute, unassuming avi as they spewed their pessimistic and jaundiced view of Yogi and the fact that he would even consider leaving early.
Good enough to lead us to another banner … but not good enough to even consider the NBA.
Shame on him for wanting to continue doing what he loves: play basketball.
Some individuals had a more public platform to shed their non-enthusiastic views of the state of the Indiana University Men’s Basketball program, and the current comings and goings. I suppose every sports program has their very own Rush Limbaughs.
While that portion of the fan base was loud, it was also small. What we have learned above all is that Yogi is loved and appreciated at Indiana University.
It is a joy to have the nugatory comments overshadowed by the true fans.
It is no secret that Yogi leaves it “all on the floor.” EVERY practice. EVERY game. Those who have realized that have given Yogi the respect as a basketball player that he deserves and blessed him regardless of his decision to stay or leave.
He certainly is an IU legend in his own right, and he will certainly continue to add to his accomplishments while he joins other elite players on the IU roster this season in the culmination of his four-year endeavor to hang another banner.
The support of so many individuals, including family, teammates, coaches, and fans, helped Yogi sustain a positive attitude while he made his decision. He felt the love of many and the acrimony of only a few. He knew what he had to gain by staying and he knew what he had to gain (yes: gain) by leaving.
The most wonderful thing about either decision was that either way he would continue doing what he loves: playing basketball.
Hoosier nation can now breath a sigh of relief.
I myself have been waiting to exhale since that loss in Nebraska.
As a parent, I sat by encouraging Yogi to make the choice that he himself could live with for the rest of his life … without wondering “What if?” I encouraged him to stay off of social media and sports blog sites. Everyone has an opinion, yet his was the only one that mattered.
Of course I weighed in with my wishes. It was no secret that I wanted him to stay for primarily educational reasons. He hopefully now is understanding the importance of secondary schooling.
Chances are, whatever path he chose for next year, he likely will be done playing basketball before or by the time he is 30 years old. Then what? Now he’ll have a college degree and an opportunity to stay in the sports world as a coach, commentator, or whatever sports-related endeavor he wishes to pursue.
Basketball has always been plan B.
Naturally, I took advantage of my unique position as his Mother to convey my wishes, but I assured him that I would support him no matter what. I successfully lined up a few of my own former college basketball players who one found themselves in the same position of the stay-or-go scenario. I wanted Yogi to get a full picture of what he was contemplating.
Yogi ultimately made his decision having done his research. The decision was not taken lightly.
Selfishly, I’ve become wedded to the Assembly Hall, which was definitely another reason I wanted him to stay. It’s my getaway, if you will. I am not ready to leave any more than Yogi is.
So, yes, education is the motivation to stay, but Hoosier Nation provides great incentives as well, without a doubt.
Thoughts on the future
This team is now “perfect” … or so I am told. But I beg to differ.
I feel like the recent teams of the past have had a great combination as well. After all, we’ve had guys like Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, and Noah Vonlah. Were they not good enough for a national championship? No one would argue that they are not elite players.
We are now adding more top Rivals players, but they are “green.” Will they be ready to play? We can only hope so.
I hope that the leadership of the seniors and other upperclassmen on the team help this 2015 team to gel cohesively and quickly. If the past three years have taught me anything, it would be to not over-predict the success or failure of a team before the games begin.
Preseason predictions are sometimes no more than best guesses using tarot cards and a crystal ball. Yogi knows all too well — that a number one ranked team can be beaten by a lesser regarded team any day of the week. Skill certainly contributes to success, but heart and luck belong in a winning recipe as well.
I shall remain optimistic and hopeful nevertheless.
Here’s to a year of hanging banners and breaking records.
Here’s to another year of candy stripes.
Here’s to another year of “Are you Yogi’s Mom?”
Here’s to another year of Assembly Hall and being the sixth man.
Here’s to another year of sideline coaches and radio hosts.
Here’s to another year of basketball know-it-alls … who have never played or coached a day of basketball in their life.
Here’s to another year of blogs and people who claim they never read them.
Here’s to supporting Coach Crean and being crucified for it.
Here’s to not having it any other way.
Here’s to one more year.
And hopefully one more banner.