The Storm Before the Calm Before the Storm
By Dan Kramp
Everything had seemed fine. The sun had been shining, at least since Indianapolis. Clouds had quietly snuck across the sky without our noticing. The temperature outside felt substantially cooler, yet our high spirits had left us ignorant to the reality of our circumstances. As we pulled into the Pilot gas station in Western Indiana, we blissfully exited our vehicle and moved inside to use the restroom and fuel up. But little did we know the danger we had just put ourselves into (see my article on Prepositions). For we had now entered Purdue country.
I guess we should have seen the foul looks we'd been receiving from left and right as we traipsed around the store in our Virginia gear. If you can remember the scenes from Scooby-Doo where all those glowing red eyes popped up in the dark woods at night, you might have an idea of what it began to feel like. Trenton and I became aware of our situation and cried out to Carter who was across the store shopping for Gatorade. "Carter, let's go!" But he hadn't checked out yet. Trenton and I made our way to the door so far unscathed, until a woman entering from the outside opened the door for us.
As she held it open, feigning politeness and motioning us outwards, we knew the evil that lay in her heart. We could see her dark intentions in her midnight black eyes that stared back at us. She smiled viciously as she glanced at our shirts, saying "Aw, Virginia??" And with that, we knew it had begun.
With only one way out, and her blocking our route to freedom, we knew we had to play it safe. We replied as charmingly as possible, in order to not draw attention to ourselves, trying desperately to hide the shakiness and fear in our voices. Was it enough? Could we leave without causing a scene?
"I'm a Purdue fan. It was a really good game though." There it was. The ammunition. We knew that she was ready at any moment to strike. As we slipped by with nervous smiles, we laughed in agreement to ease obvious tensions in the air. "It was good," we said, moments before bolting back to our car and locking the doors. We had made it. Though another Purdue fan in a black polo had walked into the Pilot after us, he had not seen us escape to our vehicle. We were in the clear.
Overall, it was a terrifying experience, but it really put into perspective why we are even here in the first place. We are going to win at whatever the cost, no matter how horrible or intimidating the road before us appears to be. There's a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel with our names on the NCAA tournament trophy. And we will do whatever it takes to get there. #roadtominneapolis