With Rice series on deck, #ORTO is gaining traction
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012 21:05
Is it just me, or is #ORTO becoming more than a clever hashtag?
If you’re unfamiliar, ORTO is short for “on the road to Omaha.” It’s been the mantra of the No. 13 UCF Knights baseball team since head coach Terry Rooney took over.
Plenty of teams and plenty of coaches will say your standard confident boasts, they’ve become a part of coach’s speak at this point. But if you’ve ever listened to Rooney talk and seen the conviction in his eyes when he does so, you realize he means and believes everything he says, no matter how bold or crazy the proclamation sounds.
And here we are, on the eve of the most important weekend series the program could hope to take part in, a showdown with the No. 5 Rice Owls with the Conference USA regular-season championship on the line, and it’s really starting to feel like more than a slogan.
UCF Athletics’ John Denton wrote a piece Wednesday about Rooney’s first full recruiting class back in 2009 and how that can be traced back as the foundation of the success the Knights stand on the cusp of.
You know what? He’s dead on.
Rooney came in and recruited, and he did it really, really well. For his first few seasons, though, the program wasn’t able to put together all of its talented pieces, only showing flashes of potential.
That’s what has made this season so special, so far; the program is turning a corner.
Often times, when a program has a great season, ascends in the polls and has a decent shot at contending on a national scale, fans hold on to the moment for dear life because these things are fleeting and irrelevance is always lurking. Often times, teams are good for a season, if that, and then they fizzle.
What’s really worth noting is that isn’t what this 2012 season feels like for this program. It’s not the perfect storm; it’s more of a “well, it’s about time” situation.
The depth within the program is crazy, so I don’t feel foolish when I tell you that this is the first of many seasons the Knights will spend entrenched in the top 25.
But don’t get me wrong: The Knights need to win this series to finish turning that corner. Sure, UCF is going to an NCAA Regional, win or lose, but that’s not the point.
Win this series, and the championship with it, and the Knights will likely host their regional, a first for the school.
Rooney knows how big UCF’s fan base is. After Tuesday’s rain out against Stetson, he implored the fans who fill up Bright House Networks Stadium for football and the UCF Arena for basketball to come out to a game this weekend, of all weekends.
His program is poised to make more noise than ever before, once again demanding attention.
Will the Knights be playing a month from now, when the College World Series begins play? That’s hard to say.
But what’s not so hard to say is that #ORTO definitely doesn’t feel like some meaningless hashtag anymore.