Perhaps Llyod Christmas said it best, “I hate good byes”.
And so tonight will offer an evening of profoundly mixed emotions, as the Gators bid a fond farewell to three seniors, and attempt to send Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Eric Murphy off the O’Connell Center court for the final time with a victory— and perhaps, a small piece of history.
The former part of that wish list is within Florida’s control, as it faces a Vanderbilt team that should succumb to any reasonable Gator performance.
The desired win, of course, would provide Florida with an outright SEC Championship — the second for this trio of seniors.
The latter hope — the “small piece of history”—well, that is a bit less assured.
“We have never have been able to cut down the nets. Personally, I think any team we would want that. But that’s his decision. We’ll see how it plays out,” Kenny Boynton said of his wish to snip off a bit of O’Connell Center nylon.
“His decision” is, of course, that of Coach Donovan.
If Donovan does face such fortunate scenario, it will not be a first for the Gators’ coach. In fact, he last faced the ‘cut or no-cut’ conundrum against the very same opponent. In 2011 Florida captured the program’s third outright conference title by toppling the Commodores on the road.
The fate of those Nashville nets that evening?
“We obviously weren’t going to do it there. You can’t do that,” Eric Murphy said of his sophomore season’s net preservation.
But what about tonight?
On Senior Night?
With an outright title secured?
“It would be cool, but it really is coach’s call,” Murphy said, echoing his teammate’s sentiments.
It was cool in 2007 when Noah, Horford, Brewer, et all climbed the ladder in 2007 and relished cutting the nets on a conference title, even after the ultimate prize was acquired a year earlier. “It doesn’t happen a lot,” Donovan said at the time. “I think anytime you win a championship you celebrate, you enjoy it, you cherish it”.
Mike Rosario, who was technically a member of the 2011 conference title team, may most cherish a chance to reach the ladder’s summit— both literally and metaphorically. His early roller-coaster career has culminated with a rapidly ascending senior campaign, and a role that has been critical to Florida’s success.
But nylon may not be the memento he seeks, but rather a ring to call his own.
“An SEC title would be important to me because the one that we got two years ago, I felt that I didn’t contribute, but I still got a ring,” Rosario said of his redshirt season.
Here’s to hoping tonight Rosario gets the ring he unquestionably deserves.
Here’s hoping that he, along with Kenny Boynton and Eric Murphy climb the ladder and snip off a piece of the nets they have so often scorched.
Let us look forward to watching as three seniors wave to the fans that have shared their prolific journey.
Ugh— I hate good byes.