thanks for the pass —>

11/17/04

God knows 89% of you have no idea why this week is so special to some of us, but here’s the scoop: the college basketball season finally started. I have had small infatuations with football, occasionally lapses into baseball, and I had a New York Cosmos jersey when I was a kid, but nothing has fully permeated my soul the way college basketball has.

You can go to all kinds of other places to hear rhapsodic prose about how college hoops games are the last true representation of “sport,” how truly any team can win on any given night, and how there is no greater spectator sport (with the possible exception of a really bloody fight in hockey). All I can say is that I actually live and die – emotionally – with the fate of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

I’ve driven 27 hours just to see a conference game. I’ve flown 3,280 miles and back the same day; I’ve scalped in 15-degree weather; I’ve sat next to a Duke student in a game we lost. When I was 18, Kendall Croswell and Jon Vaden and I camped out in the mud overnight in mid-winter to get tickets to the first game in the Dean Dome.

The last few years, especially the rock-bottom nadir of 2001-2002, have been devastating. Our record was so bad one season (8-20) even teams like Davidson were feeling sorry for us. Decades of tradition were wiped out, and fans like me, who can’t help their genetic predisposition to Carolina blue, felt trapped, heartbroken and in serious need of Al-Anon, like a trusted father had suddenly begun to beat us.

Our team has recruited well, got the best coach in college, and fought our way back into the rankings. And this week, all I can say is WE’RE FUCKING BACK, BABY!

SICover.jpg

Fuck the Sports Illustrated Cover Curse. If the Sox can win, anyone can. Plus, we were on the cover of SI at the beginning of the 1982 season, and we all know what happened then, don’t we?

I said, DON’T WE???

jordan.jpg

freshman Michael Jordan nails the jumper against Georgetown

0 thoughts on “thanks for the pass —>

  1. Michelle

    The best coach in college basketball? I think my man Pitino surely holds that title. I understand your emotions though. There is just something about college basketball that grabs you and doesn’t let go, ever.

    Reply
  2. Tanya

    Some call it basketball season, I call it ulcer season. Or birthday party/funeral season. Anyway, yeah – I, too, live and die with the Heels every year. I’m trying to block out the ’01-’02 season, which should be easy since I was dead for most of it…
    What’s this? A tear in my eye????

    Reply
  3. jordana

    rick pitino has to go to the pros every few years to feel good about himself. roy williams reportedly didn’t even consider it when the lakers called him last summer. he is a true college coach and our boys will be better men as well as better players for having been coached by him.

    Reply
  4. Greg from Atlanta

    There is no bigger champion on of the Carolina cause than me. (Sadly, until I drop some lbs., that’s true both literally and figuratively speaking). I already emailed my wife a copy of the schedule so that she does not erroneously make plans with our friends which might conflict with any Tar Heels games this year. And [keeping my fingers crossed], I my have already scored my ticket to dook game in Chapel Hill. Love the blog and check it often, but how can you justify actually spelling that four-letter word any other way than [lowercase] d-o-o-k?
    “Pinto” and “Izzy” are good . . . but ‘Ol Roy is great!
    You want me to keep you on the listserv of Tar Heels to whom I send out updates?

    Reply
  5. Val Leary

    One of life’s greatest pleasures is to live in Chapel Hill during UNC Basketball season. The energy and excitement (most years) on game day is beyond compare And yes, I know I am preaching to the choir. I was nine months plus pregnant during the tournament last year when we lost to TX and my husband thought for sure I was going to through myself into labor with my antics!! If only . . .but at least this year I will actually be able to fit into my seat at the Dean Dome while enjoying many a fine moment of UNC basketball!!

    Reply
  6. Just Andrew

    Can anybody beat this team? I just got an email from the AD at Louisville letting me know they had added BYU-Hawaii (a D2 school) to thier schedule prior to playing us.
    Gawd, I love this season already.

    Reply
  7. Sara J

    Ah….The coach Kansas took a chance on and let him learn his trade…
    I do hope Roy wins it all some year, too bad he couldn’t get it done in Lawrence….
    Rock Chalk.

    Reply
  8. Pitino?

    Williams has a higher winning percentage than either Izzo (who I love) or Pitino (who was exposed at the Celtics).
    Speaking of Pitino, how can any Looville fan feel good about the former UK coach? And how can any UK fan think Pitino is his man, when he went over to the enemy?
    I guess folks in Kentucky just don’t care about basketball as much as we do. If koach k came from dook* to my beloved UNC, I’d swear off sports forever and enroll for a second BA somewhere else just to replace the suddenly tramatic memories. Some rivals can’t be forgiven.
    -Lindsay

    Reply
  9. Merkin

    “we all know what happened then, don’t we?”
    Did they drop their first game of the season to an unranked opponent?

    Reply
  10. eric g.

    Ian,
    The curse lives. I was at the game. It SUCKED. We looked so fucking lost. McCants played like an absolute punk, talking smack all night to his shorter, slower opponents who, incidentally, were making him look like Urkel in P.E. class. Then he hit a bunch of meaningless threes during garbage time to pad his stats. Roy looked shellshocked. Jackie Manuel continues to make my ballhandling look like Meadowlark Lemon’s. Is he really a senior? Man, it was awful. I bumped into David Ball as Bill Taggart and I trudged dejectedly to the train. He agreed that it was one of the bigger bummers in recent memory (aside, of course from that black Tuesday a few weeks back). We’d better beat BYU by 60. Hope you’re well.

    Reply
  11. Mary Anne Oller (aka "Tony's Mom")

    Ian! and Tessa! Hello!!! I was surfing the internet and, wildly, I somehow linked with your website. The blog entry screamed of a person we knew (you!) and so I happily read more. CONGRATULATIONS to you and Tessa on the baby! We are so excited for you and know that you will be as fabulous at parenting as you are as writers. You will soon know the true meaning of “blessing”.
    Tony misses you both and sends a huge hug and a “Wazzup?”. We will always thank you for casting him as “Stu” in The Last American Liberal. What an awesome experience that was.
    Please keep us posted on the baby news. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply

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