After the UConn game last week I made the comment to my fiance that Peyton Siva finally looked like he was happy, and having fun again. She replied that it was almost as if he had finally escaped from the deadly swamps of sadness like Atreyu. She is my muse; and, for those of you who don't know what the "Deadly Swamps of Sadness" are, keep reading after the jump and the theme will make sense.......
The Deadly Swamps of Sadness were a mythical place from a popular 1980s movie titled "The Never Ending Story." If you've never seen this movie, then you're probably in your early 20s because it was pretty popular for the kids, and adults of my youth. After I started thinking about it, the movie itself serves as a pretty good analogy for the program right now. I apologize in advance to anyone who is not familiar with the movie, and hope that anyone who is, enjoys this post as much as I think I will enjoy writing it.
The story describes the fantasy world of Fantasia, which is all of humanity’s hopes and dreams, and it is being threatened by a force called “The Nothing,” a void of darkness that consumes everything and makes everything seem hopeless. The Nothing represents human apathy, cynicism, and the denial of childish dreams—and it eats away at Fantasia.
"The Nothing"= The mood of gloom and despair that was hanging over the program/ season/ aspirations a few weeks ago, which found its peak after the Providence game. Many things brought, many of us myself included, to that point. The injuries, the in-cohesive play of the team, the odd statements emanating from players in the locker room.
Siva= Atreyu: As Mike said many times in the preseason, and during his slump, Siva is the catalyst for this team and it will only go as far as he can take them. This makes him very similar to Atreyu, the protagonist of TNES, in that all the hopes of Fantasia rested on his shoulders. Much like Atreyu,.... Siva has carried the hopes of many people from the start of this journey.
Swamps of Sadness= the Injury bug: In the movie, our hero has to navigate his way through the Deadly Swamps of Sadness. The Swamps are a mysterious place where even the most positive and upbeat person can lose hope. In the movie, if you let the sadness of the swamps overcome you, you would sink into the mud and perish. Much like Atreyu, Siva fell victim to the sadness of the injury bug. He let himself not only become affected by his physical limitations,... but he also appeared that he had let doubt creep into his mind.
Artax=Players lost to the Swamp: In the movie, Artax is Atreyu's white horse, his best friend, and his supporting cast. Unfortunately Artax is lost in the swamps, and Atreyu has to leave him behind while sinking into the mud. There's no real need to recount the players lost to injury this year, but I hope you see the comparison. There is however a happy comparison to come from this later which involves a certain portly player.
Falkore= Gorgui: In the movie, after his team mate(s) is lost to the sadness of the swamp,... Atreyu/ Siva fights on for awhile but he almost gives up. He finds himself sinking into the mud of the swamp, and is almost doomed to the same fate as Artax. Then, magically, out of nowhere,.... our hero (and the hopes all humanity) is rescued by a a giant "Luck Dragon" named Falkore. Falkore swoops in from out of nowhere to carry our hero, and the hopes of humanity/ Card Nation, on his back for the remainder of the journey. Just when all seems lost, this blessing saves the day; and, Atreyu finds new hope believes that he can complete his journey.
The Sphinx= Syracuse Zone: Armed with a new-found hope, and with his injuries healed...... Atreyu/ Siva then must face his greatest test of the journey by passing through the Gates to the Southern Oracle (New Orleans), the Sphinxes. The Sphinxes are two giant statues that kill anyone who tries to pass between them with beams of light that shoot from their eyes. Atreyu is instructed on how to get through the gates by an old scientist (Rick Pitino) who has spent years studying the Sphinxes and knows all of their secrets.
In the end our hero prevails, he passes through the gates and eventually saves Fantasia from "The Nothing." Towards the end, we see that Artax (Fat Wayne) is magically returned to Atreyu. Will our hero lead us to New Orleans? I don't know the answer to that anymore than you do; but, I know that there is a new hope and optimism about the program right now. We've suffered through an incredibly depressing time and things seem to be going well. Most of the answers for how well, and what the expectations for the rest of the year should be, could potentially be answered tonight.
Go Cards.... Beat Cuse