Much like the time I had to defend Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to a couple of guys who claim to be from New Jersey, on Friday night I had to defend the greatest Hoo ever to a guy I was once proud to call a fellow alumnus.
I can only attribute this to the fact that he was wasted and had just finished watching a crazy end to the first round of another NCAA Tourney bereft of our beloved UVA. It wears on you when your alma mater is mired in mediocrity, but not so long ago there were good times, of which the Rossman and I vociferously tried to remind this Wahoo wannabe. Times when a man wearing number 44 roamed the backcourt and willed the Cavaliers to glory time and time again. "That team was good!" we protested. "He was All-ACC First Team three times!" we shouted. But it felt like our former friend didn't want to hear any of it, as if all the losing and lack of direction had worn him down to the point of apathy.
After completing one of our worst seasons in recent memory and firing our head coach, those times really do feel like glory days of long ago, and I'll admit that it makes me start to wonder if things will ever turn around for the Hoos. And this is sad, because as trivial, or "jocular" like our current University President likes to say, as you think sports may be, one should never have to speculate (as Rich and I sadly did Friday night, if only for a moment) whether he will live to see his favorite sports team win a championship (or in the college hoops scheme, make a Final Four run). Sadly, right now, I'd be happy just to be still watching Wahoo basketball, even if it meant we were stuck in some meaningless, you weren't even average enough to make the NIT, consolation tournament.
I just really want to believe that it's worth it to stick with my Hoos. I wouldn't give up, but I don't view it as a choice. To me, being an alum, is akin to being married -- you're stuck in unquestioning loyalty for life. UVA will always have my love and support, but I need to know that Sean Singletary mattered, that what he achieved won't flame out for nothing and future generations of Wahoos won't be mired in the same old mediocrity.
And what do you think I found to restore my faith? That's right, the commentary of a self-righteous, obnoxious, inflammatory and 86% hilarious sports blog. Imagine how reaffirming it must be to Bradley fans everywhere to see the headline "CIT Tournament Not Completely Useless." "Because the most-thrilling endings only happen in games that aren't televised," snarkitizes Dashiell Bennett. Lofty words. True words.
Words that reminded me of another one of the greatest college hoops moments you never saw, another reason why it still matters--another reason to keep blind faith alive: The time when Sean Singletary scored 6 points in 23 seconds to put the Cavaliers into the semifinals of the innaugural College Basketball Invitational. That's right, the CBI. This happened, my friends. May you, and I, and drunken UVA alums who have forgotten what a man Sean Singletary was never forget it. Hold onto your regular boring old shoes (as opposed to the dancin' variety), because you're about to witness a great moment in pointless, made up postseason college basketball tournaments!