Thursday, April 16, 2009

NCAA tourney games

I know I said I was done posting but I forgot I had this one drafted. If I waited until next month, it just wouldn't be as cool. Plus, I needed pictures for it to feel completely at piece. Now I have pictures!

A couple of weeks ago I had my very first experience attending a NCAA tournament game. There are usually tournament games played in North Carolina each year and this year the first and second round games were played at the Greensboro Coliseum (about an hour from Raleigh). It's one of the blessings of living in college basketball heaven. I'd been to various ACC games over the years but never for the tournament. It was a beautiful experience. I didn't find out that I was going until about 12:30 the night before when my dear friend Trevor called me to see if I wanted the last ticket. I about cried.

This was our schedule:
  • 11:00ish - depart Raleigh/Durham
  • 12:00ish - drive around G-boro in search of food, a process that wasn't necessarily sped up by the Urban Spoon app on the iPhone.
  • 12:20 - LSU/Butler game
  • 3:01 - Carolina/Radford game
  • 5:15 - rumble in the parking lot
  • 5:30 - dinner at Waffle House
  • 7:10 - Texas/Minnesota game
  • 9:40 - Ice cream break
  • 9:50 - Duke/Binghamton game (left early and still got back to Raleigh around 12:30)
One of the most exciting parts of the day for me was getting to meet Tyler Hansbrough's father, Gene Hansbrough. I'm not really a star-struck person but I have really enjoyed watching Tyler Hansbrough play for Carolina for the past four years. His dad is frequently at his games, no matter where they are playing. His dad was SOOOO nice and didn't roll his eyes at me when I stammered through some gibberish about his son and their family.

For the first round game, Carolina played Radford University (small school from Virginia). They had a decent showing of fans. I thought it was great that so many students would come down from Virginia to see their #16 ranked team play #1 ranked UNC. I thought that for about 5 minutes. And then the game started. The fans were beyond passionate and were just rude. The boys in front of us had to be told by the people around them to calm down and stop swearing.

When everyone in the coliseum had to leave after the game, there was a group of Radford fans standing over one of the balconies boisterously heckling at all the Carolina fans. (Just for the record, Carolina won by 43 points). Most of the Carolina fans chose to ignore them but a few yelled back. And a few, namely myself and my friend Katie, chose to passively fight back. The picture below is us standing behind the hecklers.

I then decided a slightly more immature response was also needed. I approached one of the hecklers and very calmly asked him, "Hey man, I was in the bathroom at the end of the game. What was the final score?" He had no response. Zing! When your team loses by more than 40 points, it's best you quietly and respectfully leave, just like everyone else. When we were leaving the parking lot to go find dinner, we encountered a full-on verbal sparring between 2 Carolina fans (kinda red-neck-y) and a gaggle of Radford boys (see picture). We must have been there for more than 5 minutes before we convinced them to either fight it out or move so we could pass. It was an exciting afternoon.

The evening games didn't have as much drama as the afternoon games but were entertaining nonetheless. I LOVE attending live sporting events. I LOVE college basketball. And I LOVE UNC basketball. I have been dreaming of going to an NCAA tournament game for a long time and was able to go to four in one day! At one point I asked Trevor if he would make fun of me if I started crying. He said yes. So I refrained, though I felt like it at times. I will definitely be making efforts to go to the tournament games in the future.


  1. Those are the best pictures ever! HAHAHAHAHA! love you "Passively fighting back". That's great and so glad you had a good time.

  2. I hesitated to mention this but will add it anyway. Note the guy in the rumble in the parking lot with the Carolina jersey still on - I say "still" because the shirtless guy once had a shirt that he removed as part of his "fighting" - his right arm is actually a prosthetic arm. Things would have been very ugly had it really comes to blows.

  3. I can't believe you met Gene! So so cool!!


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