March 25, 2014

Gravy



Some anonymous feedback we received yesterday (edited for grammar and spelling):

Oh come on. All you do is bitch about stuff, and now the Hoos are in the Sweet Sixteen! Where's the happy post, Kendall? We know you're happy, but you need to tell us!

Okay, fair enough.

I guess I just kind of feel like happy posts are boring?  Or maybe I've had so few opportunities to write them, I just don't know how to do it?

Nah, that's a cop out.

Whatever.  This post is the happy post.  And believe me, it's not forced.  When Mike Tobey nailed that 3, when Evan Nolte threw down that thunderdunk, the word "happy" didn't do my feelings justice.  At all.

It's euphoria to the point of tearing up.  And I've done it not once, not twice, but FIVE times this season, cried tears of joy over my almighty Hoos.  Those times...


1) Malcolm Brogdon nails the shot against Pitt.


It validated our strong start to conference play, and got me thinking that this team really was going to be something special.


2) Beating [the crap out of] Syracuse to win the ACC regular season title.


The tear came when Joe hit that late 3 to salt away a certain victory.


3) Beating Pitt on Saturday to advance to the Sunday ACC championship game.


Maybe not a "tears of joy" sort of moment, but I was drunk, it was my birthday, and I was in Baltimore, getting ready to go to Medieval Times.  The pump was primed from some waterworks.


4) Of course, beating hated Duke to win the ACC Championship.


For this one, it wasn't just a tight throat and an itchy tear in the corner of my eye.  Instead, I was openly weeping.  Like I had just shaken hands with Jesus Christ himself, or something.



5) This past Sunday night, watching the guys celebrate the "Cavalanche" win over Memphis to secure a Sweet Sixteen berth, and finally make it to Madison Square Garden after two failed attempts last year.



Yeah, I'm happy.  So happy, I'm teflon this week.  Anything bad, *vvvvvwwoooot*, slides right off.

I know Michigan State looms on Friday night, but I'm not nervous or afraid.  I won't be fearwatching, like many (most?) Hoofans tend to do during a big game.  I'm just going to be enjoying the show, watching the best team in at least 19 years of Virginia Basketball take the court to do battle against a tremendously good Michigan State team.

We might be good and lucky enough to win that game, make it to the Elite Eight, beat Iowa State, make it to the Final Four.  We might be good and lucky enough to beat Florida and Arizona and win it all.

All I know is that anything and everything we accomplish from this point forward will just be gravy.  This team has already met and exceeded my expectations, and I have been overjoyed to the point of tears along the way.

I love this fucking team.  I've had the most fun following them that I've ever had as a UVA fan (which includes 1995, 1998, and 2002 football, 1995 and 2007 basketball, the undefeated lacrosse season, and the two baseball trips to Omaha).

Perhaps the most profound joy comes from the fact that it's not a Miami-style flash in the pan.  Joe Harris and Akil Mitchel graduate, but we're still going to be really freaking good.  Preseason top 25, NCAA Tournament lock type good.  And then the next season, 2015-16, might be the best year yet.

Tony Bennett has built a program set to experience sustained long-term success.  National-level, top-4 ACC, Tournament fixture, Sweet Sixteen regular, Final Fours (plural) type success.  We're Wisconsin, fueled by East Coast talent.  We're on a trajectory that arcs higher than I ever thought possible during the Bennettball era (sorry some of the pics have expired in that post).  Tony Bennett is 44, and has found his destination job at Virginia.  UVA will pay him; he's not going anywhere.  This is 2014 Virginia, just like 1983 Duke with a young Coach K.



I realize the weight and gravity of what I just said, how crazy it must sound... but I believe it in my heart to be true, which is why I've cried five times this season.  We've arrived.  Finally, we've arrived.

But for 2014, anything we do beyond making it to the Sweet Sixteen is gravy.

So bring on Sparty, and let's do this thing.  We're the 1-seed underdog, with the young Izzo at the helm.  I like our chances.




4 comments:

  1. Much different set of emotions heading towards this Friday night than last. Blood pressure is definitely down.

    Another great piece in a long line of great pieces, K.

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  2. Still nervous about this weekend, but agree that this sure feels like an arrival announcement. Sweet Sixteen is satisfying, but to turn off this appetite, I may need a Final Four. Never enough success.

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