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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Good times never seemed so good

    Roman Veytsmansports editor
    Roman Veytsman
    sports editor

    It’s amazing how sports can bring us together – from the “”Let’s go, Hokies”” chant to the grieving Virginia Tech community to the way the New Orleans Saints gave a hurricane-ravaged city a sense of hope.

    After four years covering sports at the Arizona Daily Wildcat, I leave with a sense that no matter what happens in the world, there will always be ballparks, stadiums, fields and courts to recreate the innocence we once felt as kids and allow us to share a bond that can never be taken away.

    More importantly, I leave with indelible memories.

    So as Sarah McLachlan’s song “”I Will Remember You”” plays in the background, I will recount my memories as Emile Hirsch’s character did in the movie “”The Girl Next Door.””

    I will always remember …

    the last four excruciating minutes of the Illinois basketball game, when ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, who was seated directly in front of me, turned around to ask how many Final Fours Lute Olson would have made after the game. Yeah, he’s a jinx.

    I will always remember … the emotion in the locker room after the game as players and coaches sobbed, failing to conceal their pain.

    I will always remember … the thunder and lightning of the Wisconsin football game in 2004. As rain drenched the bleachers, hundreds of students danced, cheered and chanted until security told them to leave. And when the game resumed, thousands piled back in, only to see the momentum switch to the Badgers.

    I will always remember … Thirsty Thursdays at Sidewinders baseball game when my buddy Darren repeatedly yelled “”The Giants are the worst team in the National League”” at the Giants’ Triple A affiliate to the point where the first base coach probably wanted to pelt him with rocks.

    I will always remember … sitting down for 30 minutes with Lute Olson to talk about his book and the way he always carried himself with dignity and class, even amid vicious rumors and escalating criticism.

    I will always remember … associate head coach Jim Rosborough and the honesty he brought to a profession increasingly lacking the trait.

    I will always remember … the passion of assistant coach Josh Pastner, who eats, sleeps and drinks basketball, though he won’t drink a soda.

    I will always remember rushing the Arizona stadium field against Washington in 2003 … and then again against UCLA in 2005 … and again against Cal in 2006.

    I will always remember … playing beer pong on the RAK (RomanAaronKevin), a replica of McKale Center, which Kevin sacrificed his GPA to create. I still contend it is the best beer pong table at the UA.

    I will always remember … Salim Stoudamire’s 3-pointer from Phoenix to beat UCLA … and his jumper to beat Oklahoma State to advance to the Elite Eight.

    I will always remember … walking from Coronado to football games freshman year, carrying a Gatorade bottle with assorted beverages mixed in, as my buddy Munsell loudly mumbled the chorus to the Bubba Sparxx song “”Deliverance.””

    I will always remember playing Capture The Flag at Sterling, dressing up in camouflage and diving in dirt to escape being seen.

    I will always remember … tailgating for hours before football games to the point where several of my friends couldn’t quite make it to the game, and I only did out of sheer adrenaline … oh yeah, and fighting with tin pans.

    I will always remember … the trip to LSU for the Arizona/LSU football game and the Southern hospitality the good ol’ folks of Baton Rouge exemplified, and chanting “”U of A”” with three of my buddies as LSU fans serenaded us with chants of “”Tiger Bait.””

    I will always remember … the verbal brawls between Suns and Lakers fans at the bars, Lakers fans accusing Suns fans of jumping on the bandwagon while bragging about their 14 titles and Suns fans yelling at the top of their lungs about the here and now.

    I will always remember … the phrase “”Oh How I Hate … Ohio State”” for my roommate Cohen and his Buckeyes.

    I will always remember … playing kitchen ball with a ping pong ball and a spatula and going deep off my roommate Duff.

    I will always remember … hanging out at Frog and Firkin, no better place to drink and people watch … or should I say girl watch for the hottest girls in the country.

    I will always remember … our graduation party, girls dancing on counters, the West Coast Wonder and grape drink.

    I will always remember … parking in 20-minute spots my entire senior year and only getting three parking tickets for a total of $75.

    I will always remember … my trip to San Francisco for the Cal and Stanford basketball games and meeting a bum named Map Man (not Matt Mann as Kevin thought) who told us he knew former USC quarterback Rodney Peete.

    I will always remember … looking at Facebook pictures the morning after a party and feeling like Steve Urkel. (Did I do that?)And then walking out into the living room to hear the stories accompanying the pictures.

    I will always remember … Dirtbag’s going crazy when “”Sweet Caroline”” came on. Who would have thought that the song to define my senior year would be associated with a team (the Red Sox) I have no love for.

    And lastly, I will always remember … walks home from the bars and the moments that I can’t remember with the friends I will never forget.

    Good times never seemed so good.

    Roman Veytsman is a graduating senior majoring in journalism. He apologizes to all of the teachers whose classes he skipped but assures them that he will be working for the L.A. Daily News next year.

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