At around 3 p.m., my phone started making quite a few noises. Several people had sent direct messages of a line beginning to form outside of the Newell-Grissom Building. “Look what you did, wow,” read one of the DMs about 30 minutes before the game.
I didn’t catch it, as I was scrambling to find a parking place in the middle of that same chaos. Several people tweeted at us. and supposedly, we got a shoutout on the ESPN broadcast of the game. Hell, even the queen herself, Julie Darty, looked up at me from the court and said, “Alex, you did it!” I have to set the record straight, though, whether anyone wants me to or not. I will tell you that it sure feels wrong to call one of my favorite coaches to ever coach here that she is wrong.
But, well, respectfully, she is. And so is everyone else. Because I didn’t do this. Actually, I didn’t do much at all. All I did was what I do best. Tweet.
Twitter is powerful, do not get me wrong, but it didn’t work tirelessly for nearly four years. It didn’t get new paint on The Griss, nor did it get The Griss a new scoreboard. I can assure you it didn’t recruit the five transfers that are in the starting lineup. Nope, it absolutely did not.
It might have brought attention to those things, but it’s easy to do that when it’s all in front of you. While I appreciate the sentiment from people, players, parents, I can’t be clearer that I do not want it. It isn’t some attempt at being humble but more so to be honest.
The only thing I can take credit for is the attempt to instill this message to everyone. That message is this: This is what happens when players, coaches, administration AND fans buy in. Not just when a program is built, but, yes, even while they are building it.
Tonight was exactly that. This program isn’t built. That would imply the project is done. There is still so much progress to go because the ceiling, especially with fan support, is limitless. The program sits nearly in the top-15 in the upcoming recruiting class, and it might continue to get higher with more nights like tonight. The NCAA Tournament hasn’t even begun, and tonight is far from a one hit wonder performance.
So, please, when thinking back on tonight, do not think of a Twitter campaign. Instead, think of the number 2,321. That goes to the 2,293 fans who packed that stadium, the 18 players on the team, the seven coaches and the three managers.
For the record, we should all do this again sometime. I, for one, vote for it to be the norm around here. It was a major step for the sport of volleyball and a major step for this program. Tonight might be the night you remember history, but again, never forget that it started way before that. All the way back Dec. 22, 2017. The day she was hired.