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Now more than ever, Rutgers fans should enjoy the journey

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Rutgers v Purdue Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With a little bit of luck, Rutgers will tip off the season in just a few hours.

No matter what happens, even if things go off without a hitch, at some point there will be basketball. The squeak of the shoes on hardwood. The bounce of the rubber ball. And because of that, there is something I’m trying to remind myself of. One of Steve Pikiell’s phrases is “Enjoy the journey.”

Last season, when everything came to an abrupt and disappointing halt, I wrote a column saying that Pikiell taught us the most important lesson of all. And that is what I’m trying to remember this season.

We’ve all been though a lot—mentally, emotionally, financially—whatever. And sports are something that bring an escape for us. With the Scarlet Knights lining up their most impressive team in years, that escape is here. So, when I sit down to watch Rutgers tonight and this weekend, I am going to enjoy.

And, isn’t that what sports is all about?

I mean, yes there will be in game emotional ups and downs. It’s basketball, and not everything will be perfect. There will be moments to cheer and yell and pump our fists. There will also be time to question what in the hell Steve Pikiell was doing with that strategy. But above all, it’s time to really embrace the journey.

Each game has the potential to be fleeting, not knowing if the next one is going to occur. It’s a challenge to try and be in the moment, but that is what I’m going to do with this team. Every Jacob Young slash to the basket. Every Ron Harper Jr three. Every Geo Baker buzzer beater.

Every missed rebound or clanked shot. It’s okay that happens, because they are playing.

Joy is a word we don’t use often enough in sports. Too frequently we focus on the negative—the missed pass, the untimely turnover, and the easy runout by the other team. But there is joy just in playing. The players love it and the fans love it. I’ve had season tickets for nearly 20 years because I love the sport.

I am going to enjoy this.

Basketball is here and I am so ready for it. There is nothing in sports I love more than college hoops.

This time around, I have high expectations, but above all, I’m going to enjoy the journey.