So, the North Carolina baseball team lost last night to Fresno State and along with it were eliminated from the College World Series sending Fresno State to the finals. I was sad last night as I watched the players do everything they could, but falling short on nearly every attempt. Personally, I think Fresno State should take that homeplate umpire out to a nice dinner because he is partly responsible for them making the finals, but that’s neither here nor there. I was sad still for the seniors on the team who had been to the College World Series the last three years and played their hearts out every time. And then, I did what I always do after a Carolina win or loss. I went to the Carolina Athletics website and I read Adam Lucas‘s article about the game. Adam is the publisher of Tarheel Monthly, the official periodical publication of the University of North Carolina athletics. He’s written four books on Carolina Basketball alone, and they are four of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. (I minored in English in college. I’ve read a lot of books.) So, by the time I get to Adam’s article, it’s late, I’m irritated, and I have no idea what on earth Adam could possibly write to make me feel better.
I suppose I should have known better. I’ve been reading Adam’s work for several years now and he never fails to enlighten me of the brighter side of losses and the minute details of wins. He has made me cry and laugh all in the same article several times. I don’t find many people in my life who actually find their calling and know they have found it. Adam has without a doubt found his calling. So, when I clicked on the article, Lucas: Brave New World, I could only imagine what that title had in store for me. His titles are ridiculously poignant. What I got was yet another look on the brightside article. Adam managed to turn a three time trip to the College World Series that came up short all three times into a look at the program that these seniors built because that is something that will last much longer than any National Championship. And it’s true. National Championships last for a year and then there’s a new one. But, those seniors took the Carolina Baseball program from unknown and laughable to nationally ranked and respected in four years. Of course we all wanted them to bring home the trophy if for no other reason but as a fruit of their labor, but what Adam wrote is that a trophy isn’t what defines them. It’s the fact that Carolina Baseball is now capable of contending with Carolina Basketball in several aspects not the least of which are fans, fundraising, international prominence. Those seniors believed that wearing the blue meant something more than leaky ceilings and old stadiums, and they believed in themselves enough to make a difference.
For that, I can be nothing but proud and grateful that they have built a legacy that stretches far beyond the diamonds in Chapel Hill, Cary, and even Omaha. And I’m really thankful to Adam Lucas for showing me the big picture.