My Life Would Suck Without You
I’ve done the math. In the four years since Michael Copeland, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green, and Tyler Hansbrough set foot on the campus at Chapel Hill their class has played in every game possible in an NCAA season with the exception of 9 games. That’s not 9 games in one season. That’s 9 games over 4 years. That’s 2.25 games per year that were available to play in, but they weren’t eligible for. They missed the ACC championship game their freshman year and this year. They missed the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship game their freshman year as well. Their sophomore year they missed the Final Four and the Championship game. And their junior year they missed the Championship game. Now let’s look at the games they did play. They have played in 145 games. They’ve lost 22 of them. That’s an 85% winning percentage over four years. That’s 5.5 per season. How many NCAA teams would LOVE to say they only lost 5 or 6 games every year? In the last 3 seasons, they have won more than 30 games. That is a UNC record. No other North Carolina team in its 99 years of basketball history has strung together 3 seasons of 30 or more wins.
Now what does that all mean? Well all it really means is that this senior class has won…a lot. But I can guarantee you that every single one of those seniors and every one of those juniors and freshmen could care less what their team’s winning percentage is. Or how many games they haven’t played in over their careers. They have one focus and it’s beating the next team. Because beating the next team means they bring home a trophy, they cut down the nets, they reach the point they have been fighting to reach for the last 4 years, they solidify themselves among the greatest teams in UNC history, they get invited back next season to hang not just a jersey in the rafters, but also a team banner. And if they beat that next team, when they get invited back 10, 15, 20, 25 years from now, they will know that together they did something special. Together they achieved their goals. Together they created a team that loved to play basketball, that loved playing that game with each other, that withstood the pressure from the outside world.
My favorite part about all of this is that a few of these players were never supposed to stick around all 4 years. And the most hated player in college basketball right now, Tyler Hansbrough, not only stuck around for 4 years, but tonight he is playing in the last possible game of his college career. He didn’t just stick around for 4 years. He’s sticking around until the bitter end. As much as some of the media would have liked to close the book on his college career perhaps in the 2nd round of this tournament or three years ago, he said no…we will not go that easily. It’s kind of like knowing the exact date your life expires. We know without a shadow of a doubt that tonight’s game is the last college game for this senior class. I’ve always said I hate uncertainty, but at least for just this one time I know there’s no next game to hope they get to play in. This is it, and I am beyond proud knowing that they have worked so well together to turn that possibility into a reality.
Over the last three weeks during this tournament, I’ve been reminiscing in my mind about the last 4 seasons. The good, the bad, the ugly, the fun, the joy, the smiles, the tears, the love of the game. The last 4 seasons have been one heck of a roller coaster ride. I have thought very seriously about jumping ship and I very nearly did this season when they had the 0-2 start in the ACC. But deep down I am a Tar Heel fan. I have been since I was in the womb. I may have degrees from a different school, but when you ask me what team I have been a fan of for the longest, I’m gonna say the Tar Heels and there’s not one thing I would change about that. They can make me madder than I have ever been in my entire life, but they can also make me pretty ecstatic. What I’ve come to understand during my mental review is that my life would have SUCKED without these guys.
I want desperately for THIS team to win tonight’s game because I want it SO badly for them all after everything they’ve been through in the last 4 years. The criticism, the injuries, the pressure, the hard work…all of it. I just WANT it. But here’s the bottom line. I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight. I can analyze it in my head until I’m Carolina blue in the face, but no amount of analysis is going to tell me what will happen tonight. But I know this for sure, no matter what happens tonight, I will still be a Tar Heel fan because I would rather not win with the Tar Heels than win with any other team in the nation. HANDS DOWN.