Thinking back on the ‘92-’93 season, that Eagles’ lyric is a pretty accurate reflection of my sentiments as we walked out of the Devaney Sports Center late Saturday night. But that’s not to say that it had been a calm and collected winter. From my current vantage point it would be easy to believe that the season had been a cruise down Redemption Road, a joy ride with little cause for concern. However, a reality check would reveal that there had been an element of stress. While one newspaper headline declared “Warriors Waltz to Another Championship,” from a parent’s point of view, there had certainly been some moments of anxiety.
Although it now seems irrational, there were times when this parent was somewhat apprehensive. Before the first Raymond Central game there was some uneasiness as the Mustangs appeared to present a real threat. Before the Mt. Michael game, there was some dread of going into “the palace” to face a Jim Kane team. Certainly, at District time, and especially with Mike Hancock’s illness before the Waverly game, there was some nervousness. And as Sidney hung with the Warriors at the state tournament, I know I felt some qualms, some flashback thoughts to 1992. But I also know that those negative moments were brief, as time after time the 1993 Warriors proved their superiority. Like all the other fans, I came to expect it. I remember one very positive moment -- the opening minutes of the state tournament semifinal game with Crete. It was only two minutes into the game and I was relieved, I knew we were going to win -- the team that had struggled against Sidney the previous night was playing like the Warriors we’d seen all season. My sentiments were the same as the team would express after the game -- “Wahoo was back tonight.” The same was true of the Hartington CC game -- it had no more than begun and I was convinced Wahoo had another state championship.
So you might conclude that the winter of 1993 was a romp in the snow for the Weyand family as we all continued to make Wahoo basketball games a family affair. We were all in attendance at all the games, and we cheered heartily and proudly for Joel and his teammates. But shortly after the new year, that world where basketball games meant so much was invaded by the real world where they were relatively insignificant. In January, Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer. During the latter part of the season she had surgery and began chemotherapy treatments. But she never missed a game. I think the basketball became short-lived respites from the cancer. With the prayers and support of family and friends she made it through the treatments and we began the regular treks to the doctor for the checkups, always praying for negative results. While the celebration of Wahoo’s 1993 State Championship took place that March, we had to wait a while longer to celebrate Judy’s triumph over the cancer. At the five year point, she was considered cancer free. She still is today. We praise and thank God for that.
The ‘92-’93 season was also a time of planning for the future for Joel. Like all other seniors, he was trying to make a decision about college. For Joel, a big part of that would be basketball. By the end of his junior season he had begun getting letters from interested schools. Early on we agreed to get as much done before the high school season as possible and then put those discussions and decisions on hold. That worked to a certain degree as there were fall visits to the house by coaches from UNO, Kearney, and Morningside. There were phone calls from many recruiters, a great number from Creighton. The phone calls and visits to some of the campuses (we needed to go during the season in order to see the teams actually play) did intrude on Joel’s effort to concentrate on Wahoo basketball, but for the most part he avoided the issue until after the state tournament. Then there was a flurry of visits and a lot of soul searching. Ultimately, the choice came down to either Kearney or Morningside. Joel chose Morningside and went on to a successful four years playing basketball as a Chief.
All of Joel’s postseason awards were appreciated. As well as the All State honors, he was also recognized as “Mr. Basketball” for the state of Nebraska. But the most rewarding thing was always that state championship. His choice of Morningside was made in part because he thought the Chiefs had a chance to play in conference tournament championship games and in regional championships, and possibly a national tournament. He said he “wanted to have a chance to experience that (championship) feeling again.” Eventually he did when Morningside won their regional tournament his sophomore year and went to the Division II Elite 8.
All the family van trips; all the preparation of signs; all the videotaping -- it was all a great experience for the Weyand family. When it ended, I thought I might have a feeling of loss, even when it ended in a state championship, because it was all over. But I didn’t really feel that way. It had been a great ride. I have repeatedly thanked Joel for giving us all of those games; all of those “flashy” performances; all of the team triumphs which we got to witness and cheer about. So, by the time I walked out of the Devaney Sports Center on March 12th, 1993, I was at peace with the end of my son’s high school basketball career. Cliff Kreizel, former Wahoo player and long time boyfriend of daughter Julie, helped me carry my video equipment to the car. When Cliff asked me how I felt, I told him about my “peaceful, easy feeling.” He took advantage: “Uh, how would you feel if I asked Julie to marry me?” My answer? -- “Sure.” It didn’t even phase me. “I was already standing on the ground.”
*"Peaceful Easy Feeling" by The Eagles