Growing up I didn’t like musicals or plays. I liked sports and I thought the two interests were almost separate from one another. It wasn’t really until I met my wife and we went to NYC for our honeymoon (and we went to see 5 shows) that I really truly began to see the beauty in the art form.
Then, in 2015 the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton came out and I listened to it obsessively. I was always a history nerd and Alexander Hamilton was already one of my favorite founding fathers (I made my wife visit his house on our honeymoon in 2012) so this was just tailored directly to me. I loved it from the jump. Tickets were hard to come by and incredibly expensive so it seemed unlikely that I’d be able to go see the show for a long time. So I just kept listening. No joke, I worked from home at this point and I probably listened to this double album all the way through at least once a day.
Then, around our 4th anniversary we went back to NYC and I kept looking for last minute tickets that weren’t outrageous. Finally, I found some (still expensive but not $500 a ticket expensive) and we headed to the Richard Rodgers to watch the show. It was incredible. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with Purdue basketball but I promise you I’m getting there. You see, about midway through the show there’s a moment that isn’t in the cast recording. It’s hinted at in other songs that Hamilton’s best friend died for him but it’s never made explicit how or when he dies. When you go see the show you find out.
Hamilton is now a father, the Revolutionary War is over, and he’s finally able to begin the life he has always dreamed of. Then, this.
Hamilton seems jolted that his best friend is no longer around and that so much of his friend’s work is left unfinished due to a cruel twist of fate. After processing the news for only a brief second Hamilton turns and says “I have so much work to do,” and hustles off stage.
For Purdue basketball, this is where they are. They’ve reached a goal. They’ve hit #1 in the AP poll (unanimously might I add). A milestone never before reached by any other Purdue basketball team. Ultimately though, as Casey argues on the podcast, these rankings mean nothing. Being ranked #1 in early December never won anyone the national title. Can you tell me who was #1 exactly one year ago today without looking it up? I’m assuming you can’t. It was Gonzaga by the way.
This Purdue team has so much work to do. They have 23 regular season games to go. They are currently favored in every single one on KenPom. What does this mean exactly? Nothing. Favored or not Purdue still has 23 regular season games to go and each one will be a fight. Everyone wants to knock off the #1 team in the nation. Purdue just has to be ready to take everyone’s best punch. It’s going to take work and effort from the last man on the bench to head coach Matt Painter. No one can slack off. Greatness requires hard work and determination.
If this team wants to go down in history as one of the best to ever play they’ve got to not let what they’ve accomplished already creep into their heads. By understanding that there’s so much more left to do this team can maintain focus and forget about that number next to their name. To quote another part of Hamilton “now the work at home begins.”