last night my team lost. and i cried…i cried a lot.

if i’m honest with myself, a lot of my tears had been building up for days due to other reasons…but the thought of my boys in st. louis with broken hearts proved to be the tipping point & a steady stream of silent tears began to roll. it’s not fair. it’s not fair.  — why did my boys have to face so much adversity, fight so hard to make it so far only to get punched in the stomach…again.

(another dose of honesty: i presently have tears in my eyes…again)

yes, it’s not fair. and yes, it hurts…but when you have the joy of loving a team with one of the greatest basketball programs in the history of the game, heart-breaking losses come as part of the deal. just like ridiculously wonderful wins do too.

last night after the game i talked to daddy on the phone & he said something that reminded me of why i love being a tar heel — he said something along the lines of: “miss, when you’ve been a tar heel fan for as long as i have, you’re going to remember a lot of ‘what ifs’ and a lot of ‘so closes,’ but you’re always going to have a lot more ‘remember that ___’ [insert epic shot, dunk, win, championship of choice]”

and this 2011-2012 team is no different. this squad has a lot of ‘remember that _____’ moments to write down in the memory books. to name a few:

*remember when the heels started the season on an air-craft carrier?
*remember when tyler zeller was THE nation’s academic all-america player of the year?
*remember when kendall set a new single-season record for # of assists?
*remember when the heels forced the dookies into one of their worst ever performances in cameron indoor? remember how it was 44-22 going into the half?
*remember when UNC was the ACC conference champs…yet again?

AND…remember when we made it to the ELITE 8 with 5 of our first 7 players off the bench either not playing due to injuries or playing with injuries?

yep, i’ll remember. i’ll remember that it royally stunk to come so close, but even more so i’ll remember how ridiculously proud i am to call this team “mine.”  — i am convinced no other team in the country would have made it as far if they had faced the same circumstances as this group of heels. this team fought & fought & fought some more. they played with heart and they played for each other and they played for every tar heel around the globe.

and that folks, is precisely why i love being a tar heel. it doesn’t get any better.

except it does, because my team also happens to be full of class-act individuals both on the court and off. this morning i found an e-mail in my inbox from my darling friend kelly…she, like me & countless others, loves these boys and felt their loss last night. but unlike most of us, she had the chance to go welcome the boys back to chapel hill…her words made me smile.

I left Cat’s Cradle and drove to the Dean Dome. I waited for over an hour. In the rain. Cold rain. Balancing atop a tiny square of concrete attatched to a gigantic parking lot light pole because I’m short and not very aggressive. This was the best vantage point for for a shortie like me. I claimed my spot and balanced on it (I had to hold onto the light pole to stay up there) because I knew if I got down while waiting, someone would take my good idea and I’d again be stuck looking at the backs of heads of students many years younger but several inches taller than me.
The bus came. It parked under the Dome. We waited. And Waited. It rained some more. Still we waited. Jackie Manuel and his wife came out. Waved, thanked the crowd verbally, got in their car and honked multiple times as they rolled out. Roy came out. Roy went through the entire line thanking people and shaking hands (still raining at this point). Z came out. He waved and walked to his car. The crowd chanted “Tyler Zeller…clap clap clap clap clap” over and over. Strickland came out. Waved, smiled, walked to his car. Patrick came out waved, walked to his car which was awkwardly funny as he was parked right in front of the barricades. Henson came out, waved, walked to his car. Stillman came out, waved, disappeared. Sweet baby Kendall came out, waved, walked to the middle of the parking lot, disappeared. Several minutes passed. A few Blue Steel boys came out, waved, disappeared. Suddenly the crowd gets loud. Here comes sweet K. Starts at one end of the line. Slowly makes his way down the entirety of the crowd, shaking hands and thanking everyone. (Still drizzling and K is sans umbrella). Shortly behind him comes sweet Stillman. He goes down the line behind Kendall. I overheard some ladies saying that K took the line slowly and didn’t just hit hands as he walked but grabbed some and sincerely thanked as many as he could. Then he waved and disappeared back into the parking lot. At 12:30am on a Sunday night, I took it all in perched atop my little post with tears in my eyes for the pride to have witnessed such a class act. 
GDTBATH. all day. everyday.

it is indeed a good day to be a tar heel.
all day.
every day.
forever & always.

One response to “GDTBATH.

  1. Wish you could have been there to welcome them home and know you would have been had you been anywhere close to beautiful Chapel Hill!

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