A celebration is in order - why is it so quiet?

March 31, 9:54 p.m. - Miles Simon falls to his knees and envelopes the ball, clutching it like a mother clutches her child. Teammates burst off the bench and storm the court with militaristic frenzy. Kentucky players slowly scuttle from the court, faces down, arms drooped, hands empty. The Arizona Wildcats are national champions, and Tucson is finally Titletown. Everyone within a five-mile radius of Old Main explodes into cheers, chants, and laughter. I am there, and I, too, cheer and laugh.

February 11, 7:15 p.m. - Maya Angelou, best-selling novelist, world-renowned poet, steps into the spotlight of Centennial Hall. Students, staff, and faculty spring from their seats and erupt with applause. Angelou bows, waves, approaches the podium, face alight, arms relaxed, hands clasped. She begins to sing. Her arms move in concert with her words, and she dances in place to inaudible music. A standing ovation of 2,000 greets her with glee. I am there, and I, too, cheer and laugh.

March 31, 10:02 p.m. - Screams emanate from the campus Mall - 200 students are swarming each other on the front lawn. Banners, flags and index fingers strike the air to chants of "We're number one!" and "National Champs!" The sprinklers activate, as if by karmic command, and douse the crowd with a serenade of water. While water-fearing Cats like myself steer to the side, more adventurous souls shed clothing and openly shower 200 feet from the President's office. Statements of amazement are the only conversational words. "I can't believe it. I just still can't believe it."

February 12, - Space shuttle Discovery launches from Cape Canaveral in a maelstrom of red. Aboard is a $105 million infrared telescope, built by a University of Arizona team. The device might answer cosmological questions that have haunted us for centuries. It is a quiet night.

March 31, 10:36 p.m. - Two hundred students are now 500. The sprinklers are off, but the ground is producing a new weapon of choice: mud. The hydrophilic Cats resort to mud-wrestling, and everyone, like it or not, is invited. Students wearing white mysteriously disappear. As grown men play "WWF" in the mud, others build a make-shift slip-and-slide out of Speaker's Corner. The mud-lovers go skidding across the ground, sprawling for distance. Chants are picked up by the crowd. "No school tomorrow! No school tomorrow!" A silver, glittering beer can flies into the air, a perverse flashback of Braveheart's final scene. The Union clock blares. Hysteria explodes again.

December 5, 1996 - Arizona ranks 10th in research among public universities, 14th among all universities, outranking Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. Only one of 59 public Research I universities, Arizona boasts top 10 programs in analytical chemistry, geosciences, creative writing, tectonics, and sociology. The geohydrology program is ranked first in the country. It is a quiet night.

March 31, 10:44 p.m. - Hordes of mud-caked Cats spring from the tar pits and sprint to Old Main's fountain. In an odd ritual of baptism, the Kittens bounce into the water and quickly start the university's first fountain water-fight. Women wearing white mysteriously disappear again. Several students mount the fountain and scream, "Here we are, baby! At the top! Number one!" Another eruption of cheers.

January 23, - Five university doctors are named top physicians in the country. In a Good Housekeeping survey, more than 1,000 accredited doctors were asked to nominate the best physicians outside of their own hospitals. Seven come from our state; five from our university. UMC President Greg Pivirotto says, "I think people in Tucson and Arizona should know that they have this jewel in the desert." It is a quiet night.

April 1, midnight - Having run out of water, everyone marches into the streets. Thousands of people line Fourth Avenue, dozens of cars remain immobile. A cop shakes his head and says, "I've never seen anything like this." Traffic is at a complete and utter halt. Car owners, with nothing better to do, blare their horns incessantly. Firemen, with nothing better to do, give out high-fives. Rap, rock 'n' roll, even Tchaikovsky battle each other for the masses' ears at glass-shattering levels. Stop signs are mauled. A police car capsizes. Chaos ensues.

Throughout the night, the noise never stops.

April 3, 8:42 p.m. - The tournament is over, and we're national champions, we're number one, we da man, blah, blah, blah. We can put a ball in a hoop really well, and I suppose that's worth celebrating. We Wildcats are certainly champions, but not just vicariously through 15 basketball players. We are scholars, surgeons, musicians, and writers - some of the best in the country, some of the best in the world. We were champions before March 31, and long after the letters "NCAA" fade, we will still be champions. We must remember this excellence outside of athletics. For our other, greater achievements, we must make some noise. The silence is deafening.

Mark Joseph Goldenson is a freshman in psychology and molecular and cellular biology. His column, "Gold Standard," appears every Friday. His e-mail address is mgoldens@u.arizona.edu.

By Mark Joseph Goldenson (columnist)
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 4, 1997

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