Friday, March 17, 2006

march madness

We are a blended family. My wife and I attended Duke Divinity School, our time roughly corresponding to Coach K's early years. In our second year at Duke I served as a campus minister intern at UNC Chapel Hill, only eight miles away. Their basketball team included Michael Jordan and James Worthy, among others, and they won the NCAA Championship that year (1982), defeating Georgetown in the finals. The following year, NC State won it all, their team being best remembered for their coach, the late Jim Valvano, who died of cancer a few years later. You could sense that Duke was on the ascent, however, as a freshman named Johnny Dawkins joined their team, and then Tommy Amaker, and then Danny Ferry, and then Christian Laettner, and then Bobby Hurley, and later Grant Hill. And on and on.

We became a blended family when our beloved older daughter, Liz, chose to enroll at UNC Chapel Hill, a decision that has been a wise one. I remember riding in a bus on parents weekend, fall a year ago, chatting with a couple from Atlanta, and saying, "our daughter really loves it here", and the woman responded, "what's not to love?". Which is true.

Well, last year UNC had a pretty good team, which is an understatement. Four of their players would later be drafted in the first round of the NBA draft; two of them would become Charlotte Bobcats (my younger daughter would run into one of them, Sean May, at the mall the day after Christmas). They indeed won the National Championship last year, defeating a very good Illinois team. This year the Duke-UNC series has been a split, Duke winning at Chapel Hill, and UNC coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium and defeating Duke on Senior Night, playing four freshmen.

Now we are in the first stages of this year's bracketology. Some of the local teams have played heroically but have lost: Davidson to Ohio State, Winthrop to Tennessee, UNCW to George Washington. And right now Murray State is giving this young UNC team a battle. The early rounds of March Madness are very interesting at times, although the established teams generally find a way to win. There are exceptions, of course (for example, Michigan State and Iowa have already been eliminated).

I suppose an act of Lenten self-denial would be to detach from March Madness. I wish all of this came along at a different time of year. But I confess to an addiction to the ups and downs of it all, even the endless beer and cellular phone commercials, and as the field narrows this year, I will be hoping that our blended family is represented by at least a couple of teams.

So, I do have Duke and UNC in the final four. No ideas about who will win it all. Stay tuned.


Blogger Questing Parson said...

A daughter at UNC Chapel Hill and no mention of whose #1 in the Women's Tournament? Come on, Ken, broaden your horizons.

6:29 PM  
Blogger providence in the world said...

you are quite correct...i am a big fan of women's basketball

7:38 PM  

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