That’s probably the best word to describe how any Cornell sports fan is feeling right now.
After a quick stop at a Rhode Island train station to pick up Tina, a fellow Daily Sun photographer, I returned to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts again today. The men’s lacrosse national title was on the line. Syracuse University was heavily favored heading into the contest, but Cornell came out with an early lead and preserved it (or at least a tie) for basically the whole game.
The 40,000+ people in attendance were witnesses to the kind of sporting event that will be shown on ESPN Classic for years and years to come. With Cornell up by three goals in the fourth quarter, I started to think, “oh wow, so this might just actually happen; Cornell could be national champions in just a few short minutes”.
Syracuse had other plans. One goal. Two goals. The third goal to tie the game came four seconds away from the end of regulation play. FOUR SECONDS. Backed by a vocal, orange-clad fan section, Syracuse scored first in sudden-death overtime, ending Cornell’s hopes for its first national championship title in men’s lacrosse since 1977.
Having watched from home in 2007 as, in the final seconds, Cornell lost at the hands of Duke in the NCAA men’s lacrosse semifinals, I couldn’t believe that this was happening again. I clearly remember standing up in my living room and screaming at my TV until I had practically lost my voice; I had never been an ardent lacrosse fan before. Cornellians across the globe had similar experiences today. The outcome appeared surprisingly good, only for Cornell’s chances of victory to be stripped by the now 10/11-time (depending on who’s counting) national title winners. Pillows were thrown at TVs, couch cushions were punched, and heads were hung low. The adrenaline didn’t subside for hours.
What was different this year? I witnessed it with my own eyes (see a slideshow of the day’s action here). Armed with cameras and surrounded by the familiar crew of professional photographers from Saturday’s game, I had a front row seat (is it still considered a seat if I was kneeling on the FieldTurf?) to what many Cornellians are calling the most devastating loss they’ve witnessed in the world of sports. Great. Now it’s etched into my brain, for better or for worse.
Lamenting aside, it’s important to recognize the incredible amount of talent and effort displayed by Cornell’s men’s lacrosse team this weekend and all season long. They came into the NCAA tournament as an underdog and performed beyond nearly everyone’s expectations as they took on the toughest competitors in the country.
Good season, guys. We’ll be back at Schoellkopf next spring to cheer you on to victory once again.