BY CHEYN ROUX | Ball State Sports Link
Around 11 in the morning on Sunday, I heard a buzz from my phone.
I looked down to see it was a text from my grandfather, Don Roux.
Whenever Grandpa Roux texts you, it isn’t extravagant or drawn out.
To the point, no more than three sentences, and then he might respond back once you reply.
Grandpa Roux has been a University of Illinois fan since he could walk and will support anything related with that University till the day he passes.
Especially basketball. With that, he is always keeping an eye on Big Ten basketball.
I unlocked my phone and the message read:
“Ball State gave Purdue a good game.”
Mackey Arena is an interesting venue. When I first walked in, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little underwhelmed.
It’s shaped as if it’s a bowl which makes it seem rather small, but I was thinking about all of this around 6:30pm.
A couple hours before the game and game time are two very different atmospheres.
And when you have 14,804 packed in there rooting against you, underwhelmed is no longer the correct emotion in Mackey.
As the first half began, you couldn’t help but think how hectic the start was.
There were multiple turnovers, missed shots and moments where I felt as if the referees stopped play way too much.
All normal in the game of basketball, but, it makes it harder when you’re on the road against a team like Purdue.
Especially when there where premature moments from one of college basketballs most recognizable faces.
But then again, if I was 7-foot-3 with the attitude of an entitled five-year old, I would have premature moments, too.
As the first half unfolded, I was reminded about what I kept forgetting as the crowd would erupt after a Purdue basket: Anyone — on any given day — can lose.
If you’ve played a sport, chances are you have been on both sides of the tale. You should never count any opponent out.
After seeing it last year in South Bend, why not in West Lafayette?
Ball State went into halftime down 42-41 and I myself had my brow raised thinking this is definitely a game.
There was no reason why the Cardinals could not start this season out 2-0. The stats said it, too.
Ball State shot 48 percent from the field and made 11 shots from the three-point range beating out Purdue’s 43 percent and seven 3-pointers.
However, the factor that would be the ultimate determiner was the thing you just can’t control.
Size and speed.
Purdue out-rebounded Ball State 40-29 while also collecting 44 points in the paint to Ball States 22.
It also does not help when the Blue Ribbon National Player of the year drops 23 points and finishes with double figures.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the lack of effort or the lack of skill.
It was just the things that separates us by nature.
Nonetheless, I wasn’t too distraught as I was leaving Mackey arena that evening.
Losing by nine points on the road to No. 24 Purdue is nothing to be upset about.
No one should be okay with losing, but there’s this quote from the great coach Morgan Wooten that goes:
“You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.”
There is always going to be bumps in the road, but as long you learn from them then growth is inevitable.
I sat in my chair for a couple minutes staring back at the green message text from Grandpa Roux.
I typed out: “They did! I was there taking photos.”
It’s Monday and I still haven’t heard from him.
But, I’m not worried.
Like how Ball State should feel:
Not worried. 1-1.
Editor’s Note: Cheyn Roux is pursuing his Masters in Digital Storytelling and is an avid photographer. A former collegiate soccer player, Roux’s work can be viewed at https://www.cheynrouxphotography.com