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!
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???
freshman Michael Jordan nails the jumper against Georgetown