This time of the year always brings forth a flood of emotions. I can vividly recall sitting in our basement in Cary, North Carolina anxiously watching Selection Sunday on the oversized television. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely certain what the regions and brackets truly meant…but I would hold my breath until I saw North Carolina State on one of the lines.
I see the posts of sports fans across the country lamenting the loss of all high school, college, and professional games. Pile on the fearful uncertainty shrouding the foreseeable future, and no wonder staying in bed with the covers pulled over our head would seem to be the best option. Madness is now a part of our daily minutes, and we are certainly in dire need of an escape from reality.
My Dad was a competitor. He LOVED sports, but he could make a game out of anything. Leaving a restaurant, he would challenge my sisters and I to see which one of us could jump the farthest on the sidewalk. During our summer trips to Atlantic Beach, we would often play board games in the evenings. His goal during Parcheesi was to make my younger sister cry, and force my boyfriend to stomp off in a huff by continually chanting…”Low roller.” I can recall my Uncle Bob sharing a memory that perfectly captures my Dad’s spirit. They were having a heated debate about some topic (not really important) and my Dad was all in… refusing to back down. Finally, they both became silent. My Dad smiled and said, “Let’s do it again, but this time I will argue the other side.” I am sure his younger brother wanted to punch him.
During one of my Dad’s last interviews with Sports Illustrated, he shared his deepest feelings with writer Gary Smith. My Dad quoted British sportswriter Brian Glanville that seemed to encapsulate his feelings related to athletics. Glanville wrote, “They (sports) demonstrate the scope of human possibility, which is unlimited. The inconceivable is conceived, and then accomplished.” My Dad mused that his 23 years of coaching meant nothing…and yet they meant everything. I think if my Dad were still alive today, he would be loudly proclaiming that each of possess limitless power and we must work together during these unimaginable times to bring home a victory.
Just in case you still need some HOOPS…CBS is televising the greatest hits from past NCAA tournaments. N.C. State plays at 2 PM on March 21st. I cannot wait to see my Dad sprint across the floor looking for someone to hug.