This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
Ever had a time in your life when the stars just aligned and, with no help of your own, your wishes came true?
This happened to me during Mizzou's magical 2008-09 Elite Eight run.
In November 2008 the global economic recession had hit America hard, not close to the bottom of the swell, but the DOW was down nearly 30% year to date.
One Thursday early that November I got a call from my boss to stop by her office and before the end of the day, I was unemployed.
There was reason to be optimistic though as this was the Thursday after America had voted Barack Obama to be our 44th president.
There was a feeling of hope in the air and when I got home I looked at a calendar and realized that 10 days later Mizzou would begin their annual basketball campaign.
After coming off a disappointing 16-16 season the year prior, there wasn't much speculation that this Mizzou team would do anything special... not at least until I saw their first game.
Sure they played Prairie View A&M and won by 20 in a yawner, but there was something more there. Something intangible that couldn't be listed in a box score.
I watched the game and quickly penned an e-mail to a group of guys I attend Mizzou with. Most of them were skeptical when I told them I thought I saw something in this team that might take them to the next level.
Luckily I DVR'd the game and was able to rewatch it, and sure enough I saw IT again. What IT was... I couldn't quite tell you, but it was there.
After each victory I would write my reviews and my friends would reply with messages like, "Yeah Pfaff, but they played Chattanooga." Or "Stop drinking so early in the morning from now on." (I didn't heed that advice).
As the Tigers entered conference play they were 13-2 with some notable wins vs Taj Gibson and DeMarre Rozan of USC, against Xavier and over Cal. They had suffered an embarrassing 16 point loss to Illinois, which felt more like a 116 point loss, and ignited the "Pfaff's on crack" campaign, but I held close to my beliefs that this was a good team.
The opening conference loss at Nebraska didn't get me off the Mizzou bandwagon and 4 straight victories helped me secure that seat.
See, I've been a Mizzou fane for 15 years and have seen them shine at times, but I had just never seen them play the way they were playing this season. Balls that used to bounce off Tiger legs into the opponents waiting arms were now going off the opposition right to Tigers' standing underneath the basket. Balls that used to rim out were now rimming in. Things were changing and it wasn't more obvious than when Zaire Taylor won two games in a span of 5 days against #17 Texas and #16 Kansas.
People were starting to take notice and the bandwagon was filling up rapidly. Luckily I got there early and had a window seat.
Then one day in early March my phone rang... it was my old boss. "Evan, we have an opening and if you are still looking for work, why don't you stop by the office and we can talk."
With this job, the wife will get off my back for the all the day-drinking and empty beer cans strewn throughout the house. But what about the magical season? What about my ability to watch and rewatch Tiger games at my leisure? What about this magical season that saw the Tigers finish conference play 12-4? Will this all come to an end?
Luckily I had a trip down to Florida planned to attend a wedding of one of my closest high school friends and negotiated into my new contract that I would begin work on the Monday after the wedding, which bought me until the end of March to ride the Tiger rollercoaster.
The day of Abby's wedding was the day of the Mizzou-UConn Elite Eight game. In fact the wedding was to begin approximately the same time as the end of the game.
Unfortunately the wedding was at an art gallery 20 minutes form the hotel, but luckily for me they had hired a shuttle to cart folks to and from and on that shuttle? A TV!
So I literally got on the shuttle and took three round trips rides between the hotel and wedding venue... all while having the shuttle driver stop in spots where we got the best reception.
In the end, Mizzou lost that game to UConn and wasn't able to advance to the Final Four. (I do not blame Abby's wedding for the loss).
My unemployment ride was also over. I now had to shave and actually wear pants on a day-to-day basis.
But in the end I was unemployed from literally the first day of that magical Tiger season until the last day of it.
So what did I learn? First and foremost I learned that a pink slip isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. With a weekly check from the unemployment office and your team doing unexpected things, a break from reality isn't the worst case scenario.
Besides, those emails I had been sending my friends (maybe even annoying my friends) got me excited about sharing my passion with others, and that's why you see my rantings and ramblings here on Big 12 Hoops.
So next time you see your boss, think about the power that they hold, not just inside those walls, but the possibility they can help you unleash outside the office.
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