I tend to view sports through a statistical lens. Most fans at least have a base knowledge of the new numbers and what they mean to the point that I don’t have to further explain why I’m not trying to ruin the enjoyment of watching sports, but I just wanted to give you an idea of where I’m coming from. In a zero sum game like basketball, every factor contributes a net gain or loss to success and I attempt as best as I can to parse what those gains are and why they happen.
I also officially became a fan of Marquette in the middle of the 2012-2013 season, when I decided to attend the university. Following the Elite Eight run that set my expectations for the program as high as possible, I was met with 4 years of coaching changes and mostly disappointment. The program has mostly exited the doldrums of foundational change to at least get to a point of stability. Still, no one would argue they’re back at the heights reached at the peak of the Tom Crean and Buzz Williams eras, or even that they’re particularly close to that point. Some may argue this is due to poor coaching, others might attribute the tough Big East competition, while another small group blames the sin of their ancestors worshiping pagan gods.
I am here to proclaim that you’re all stupid and wrong. Yes, even you.
Recently, I was able to
steal borrow permanently acquire through completely okay means some government modeling software from The Pentagon. With pinpoint accuracy, this software is able to take any historical event and find the direct cause of it. Obviously the realm of time is a tapestry of interactions woven together, so multiple causes can create a singular event. What shocked me was when I input each negative occurrence related to Marquette basketball over the last 6 years. There was only one cause for every. single. one.
For my life until attending Marquette, I had no affiliation with the program and did not follow them, but I did know that they got destroyed by Kansas in the 2003 Final Four and their band donned rugby shirts. The shirts created what was objectively the best uniform worn by any collegiate band, except for Southern. Every NCAA Tournament game was a chance for the nation to draw their eyes to the blue and gold wonders as the end-of-commercial graphic transitioned from the CBS College Basketball theme to a pristine orchestral take of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” Our hearts, much like the band members’ arms, were immediately warmed.
In 2012, an inexplicable decision was made to oust the shirts. No ceremonial send off. No Viking funeral into Lake Michigan. They were cast off like a common leper. In its place came a generic golf polo. This decision, and this decision only, is identified by that fancy time government algorithm as the instigating point for every single negative outcome Marquette fans have experienced since the choice was made. The team has done their best to fight off the juju, with a decent amount of success if we’re being honest. But looking at events like the Hauser Exodus, Buzz Williams’ departure, the abysmal second halves to Murray State and South Carolina, the home loss to Nebraska-Omaha, all of them were due to the leaders of our students being unfairly chained to an objectively inferior garment.
If there were more reasons for this phenomenon, I would gladly give them to you. The only feedback the modeling software could provide was that the shirts look dope and it’s a travesty they’re not being worn anymore. It’s a simple 1:1 correlation that would create a much better product on the court with the student section looking much more stylish in the process.
Bring back the rugby shirts. Please. I’m asking nicely.