I thought it was over. Hunched over in my seat in the middle of a student section in a state of utter disbelief. It felt like I’d been struck by Adam Keller’s swinging leg and in need of a doggy bag or empty popcorn bucket to relieve the pain. South Dakota State had taken the lead Saturday with three minutes left and my entire college student section experience was over.
My mind raced.
“I can’t believe I’ll never be a student at NDSU for a football game again or throw another heckle at an opposing player. I’ll never buy a five-dollar playoff ticket from the cute girl at the Union. Damn it, it’s time to grow up.”
Clinging on to our childhood is college in a nutshell. You’re there for four to five years, eating whatever garbage you can afford, drinking without any repercussions in the morning and answering only to your worried-to-death mother and the occasional email from your professor.
These moments are fragile and when SDSU took the lead in the fourth quarter on Saturday, my stomach, heart and mind twisted into knots as if I’d just choked down another shot of tequila.
Reality hit. There won’t be another shot of tequila, there won’t be another text to my buddy Travis, asking where we’re sitting and there won’t be another apology to my boss that I had missed the postgame press conference because I had to sneak in 45 minutes of shut eye before celebrating a Bison win.
The Bison are 55-3 during my time at NDSU. A record I’m foolishly proud of because I had about as much to do with it as the weather had to do with LeBron James leaving Miami.
Time and time again, the Bison won. We would celebrate. I would write about it. And then we’d repeat the process over and over throughout the three years I’ve been a part of the Spectrum staff.
Boss-man Sam Herder and I have had a hell of a ride entertaining you, our faithful readers and students at NDSU, for the past three football seasons. We’ve had too much fun shooting the breeze next to bar-room pool tables discussing the next unique angle to write about our columns before the next day’s deadline. Colton joined the fun, too. These guys mean about as much to me as the guys I was in horror with after SDSU’s Jake Wieneke hauled in that touchdown to put SDSU up 24-20.
Bison fans, Spectrum staff and even my father have questioned Carson Wentz in crunch time. And when he took the field to John Crockett’s motivational “Let’s be legendary” rallying call, our favorite Bismarck ginger delivered.
Christian Dudzik, Colten Heagle, Carlton Littlejohn and Kyle Emanuel’s careers were on the line. And who came in to save the day? A freshman with a name that Jon Lee and I couldn’t pronounce while doing our radio show for KNDS.
R.J. Urzendowski is the reason the Bison are still alive and the reason I get to live another day inside my man-child lifestyle for one more Bison game day.
Avoiding a cliché is to ask the impossible in these situations, so I’m just going to give it to you straight: Enjoy the moment. Yell when you want to yell, curse when you want to curse and hug when you want to hug. The emotions that surface while engulfed with your favorite people in the world dressed in yellow is why we do it. My only regret is that it went too fast.
I may be staying in Fargo, but these column inches I’m blessed with each and every issue will be a piece of my college self I’m going to miss the most.
Thank you, BisoNation.