No Roy, But This Will Suffice
If I close my eyes, I can see it all: every step, every question, every picture. A week ago today, I was standing in front of a glass case mesmerized by the beauty of the objects inside. There was a blue couch next to the glass case and framed copies of Sports Illustrated covers all over the wall. Two receptionists sat at the desks in the office. One desk had quite a few bobble-head dolls on it. The other desk had copies of a campus magazine. The door into this office was glass as well and there was a large plaque outside telling visitors what the office was. I can remember every bit of the surroundings in that office, but I couldn’t tell you the names of the two ladies. I can tell you that the men’s and women’s restrooms were down the hall and (at least for the women’s) they had blue tiled walls, blue doors, etc. Even the school logo was on the sign that said WOMEN. Down the corridor to the Basketball Office, photos of UNC’s basketball players from the old days to the present hung on the walls. It was like a yellow (Carolina blue) brick road leading you to the shiny objects in the glass case. When I turned that corner and saw the trophies through the glass door of the office, I think time stopped or at least I stopped hearing anything around me. I’ve seen these trophies before…well…at least the 82 and 93 trophies. But to see the 2005 trophies that were won by a group of guys who came so far in such a short amount of time, learned to play as a team rather than as individuals, and brought Carolina back to where it belonged was just such a great experience for me. Alas, their leader, Roy Williams was on the recruiting trail that day, so we didn’t see him, but the ladies who work for him in that office are so patient and kind. My mother apologized for taking so long and said that they probably get annoyed with people coming in to see the trophies. To which, the ladies (AND I) said that if we could get these trophies every year, we’d STILL never get tired of it. 🙂
Not many people know that I waited nearly all my life for Roy Williams to win a National Championship. And for nearly as long as I waited for him to win that championship, I waited for him to return to North Carolina. I think I must have been 10 years old when he started coaching at Kansas. I have always held his coaching style and “aww-shucks” personality in high esteem. And as the winningest active coach (by winning percentage), he’s done quite a bit to back up my adoration of him (however healthy or unhealthy it might be). I’ve always been one of the first people to say that he didn’t need to win a championship to be one of the greatest coaches of all time. The fact that the media believed he needed to will always be beyond my understanding. I’m just glad he got that monkey off his back. It took his mentor, Dean Smith, over 20 years to win his first championship and only 11 years to win his second, but I’d never in a million years say that Dean Smith was a better coach BECAUSE he won championships. Quite the opposite, BECAUSE Dean Smith was a great coach, he produced great teams who a couple of times happened to win championships. Beyond the coaching though Dean Smith and Roy Williams are two fantastic PEOPLE who have done things to help their communities and better this world. I may be the only one who thinks this way (or one of the few), but I’m happy to carry that torch as long as I need to.
In any case, I thought I’d share my pictures with y’all whether you’re interested or not. I can’t say for certain that Roy’s team next season will or won’t win a championship because I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t believe they’d do it this season. They gave me quite a few scares. But, I can say that the NCAA and the AP trophies are beautiful and in their rightful place. See for yourself.
P.S. Carl and Shayna…you guys are great. Just a little shout out in case you made it this far. 🙂