In honor of the NCAA Tournament starting today, I thought it would be fun to chat about one of my first loves—college basketball.
In fact, the best basketball game I’ve attended to date happened on a Thursday much like today—it was the end of a long winter, and I was so. ready. for. spring.
Yet despite the subpar temperatures, my friend Emma and I trekked out to John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia to what can only be described as an epic battle between good versus evil: our beloved Cavaliers versus the Duke Blue Devils.
It was 5 pm on February 28, 2013 and tip off wasn’t for a few hours. Yet there we were in our standing-room-only seats, buzzed equally on Bold Rock Cider and adrenaline.
By the time they dimmed the arena lights to announce the team, the energy in the room was unstoppable. We all knew, but were too afraid to admit out loud: we are going to win this game!
With each passing minute and basket scored, the dream became even more of a reality. Yet, we were cautious. We knew our Hoos have a tendency for last minute heartbreak.
Halftime came and went, and with a minute left to go in the game, we began to realize that we are going to rush that damn court! On national television! After beating DUKE!
We probably also thought, “Better get our cell phones ready!” and “Wait! What if we lose each other?!”
Signing the Good Old Song on the court with my friends, the team, Tony Bennett, the media, and the Charlottesville community was not only one of the greatest moments of my fourth year, but my college career.
The pure, shared joy that comes with an underdog win over one of the most hated—and as much as I hate to admit it, great—basketball program in the country is an unparalleled emotion. It’s one of the many reasons I love this sport.
I could paint you a picture of how the rest of the night went, but let’s just say it involved a few rail drinks on Charlottesville’s storied Corner, and let imagination take care of the rest.
Love your school or alma mater as much as I love UVA? Leave your favorite college sports memory in the comments below for a chance to enter to win a scarf of your choosing from Collegiate Confetti. Winner will be chosen next Thursday—good luck! (And feel free to use the code teal25 for 25% off your order!)
And in the spirit of March, here are my picks for the Big Dance. (It’s definitely not at all biased.)