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January 13, 1973: No. 17 KSU vs. No. 5 Missouri
January 13, 1973. We were 10-2, ranked 17th. Missouri was 12-0, ranked No. 5. They had beaten us in the championship game of the Big 8 preseason tournament; we had a 15 game home court winning streak. They had Al Eberhard, a guy who would go to the pros. We had Lon Kruger, Danny Beard, Ernie Kusnyer and Steve Mitchell.
We students had stood outside in the cold for hours, then surged into Ahearn on a dead run when they opened the doors, causing the ushers to back out of the way. Once in the bleachers, we were jammed in, no room to move. We stood the entire game, I shouted the entire game.
I remember the noise, oh the noise. It was everywhere, looking over your shoulder, getting in your face, growing inside your head, a living thing that rose and fell, crashing against the trembling walls. It was thick enough to feel. The noise had no texture, no words, no chant, it was just The Sound, making the crowd a single entity.
We won. By 15.
At the end of the game I turned to regard the acceptably lovely co-ed who had stood in the next seat the entire game. We looked at each other and said something inconsequential. In that instant, and for all the years since, I have this odd but completely certain belief that had I professed my undying affection, she would have reciprocated and life would have been very different. Such is the possibility when you are inside that sort of space bending warp formed by 12,000 people in high emotion.
But I said nothing and went home alone.
MU's Al Eberhard (right) and Ernie Kusnyer
The color cast on both photos are originial - they did tinted programs in that era.
|Last modified 3/6/11; posted 4/14/2006; original content. © 2011, 2006 John P. Nordin|