i find myself in the odd position of feeling what definitely qualifies as school spirit. now, i don't dislike uc irvine. in spite of some departmental shuffling (to put it nicely) in the past few years, it's been a good place to do graduate work. but i've never really found myself tracking any of its sporting events. in fact, with its refusal to have a football team, the university has a bit of an anti-school-spirit, at least in traditional sports-related ways, feel to it.
but yesterday i went to ray's to get an early lunch. and the customer behind me in line asked them to tune the television to espn 2. i was a bit surprised to find that uci's baseball team was just starting a game. college world series. against cal state fullerton. a southern california showdown. and it was win or go home. i watched the first two innings in roy's and then forced myself away. silverian exam and all. but i tracked down espn's college sports scoreboard and checked the score every so often through the afternoon. after tying up the game at 4-4 in the 7th, they played another six innings. that's right six more. for a total of 13. before winning 5-4 in the bottom of the 13th, setting a record for the longest game in cws history.
so this afternoon i tuned into espn's scoreboard from the uci library again to monitor progress as they played arizona state (who beat uci 5-4 in their opening game last saturday night). when arizona was up 7-4 in the 8th, which is when i left the library, i pretty much decided the anteaters were probably on their way home. much to my surprise, when i checked in from home a bit later, it was bottom of the 10th (another extra-innings game) and they were tied up at 7. with the anteaters at bat. with loaded bases and only one out, the anteaters delivered. 8-7 final. they set another cws record in the process--first team to win extra-innings games on consecutive days in the series. and now they face the defending national champions--the oregon beavers (sure makes for an interesting animal kingdom face-off)--two days running. that is two days running if they win tomorrow night (here's to seeing them win without going into extra innings...).
and i find myself feeling more school spirit than i have in more than a decade. ZOT!!