Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This team.

Last night we lost the National Championship. At the buzzer. I think this game hurts more than any game in my 29 years as a Carolina fan. I get that it's new and fresh and seems that way, but I think it's more than that.

It's Marcus Paige saying that these were the best four years of his life and that this year, not his best year as a basketball player, was the most fun year of his life ever.

It's Marcus Paige hitting a floating three with four seconds left to tie the game. That brief moment of pure joy where we came back from 10 down and our senior leader who embodies everything I ever want anyone to think of when they think of UNC ties the game and we *know* we're getting our storybook ending.

It's Marcus Paige's (sorry, there are a lot of "It's Marcus..." He's that kind of kid) senior speech when he tears up thanking Roy for always believing in him.

It's Kennedy Meeks crying, telling the media that watching Joel James cry is the worst part of it all. That Joel James is his hero and that he wants to be just like him.

It's Theo Pinson who, just a few days ago, was asking where his seat was at the press conference and doing Larry Fedora impressions, sitting in the corner with a towel over his head.

It's Nate Britt's adopted brother beating us. It's the fact that Nate Britt has an adopted brother and that his parents each sat one half on each team's side.

It's Brice Johnson, who four years ago was seriously debating leaving this team, wanting this win more than anyone.

It's Joel Berry who has quietly stepped up all year going 6 for 7 in the first half.

It's the fact that more than 50 Carolina basketball alums were in Houston. The Carolina family is always supportive, but they knew this team was special.

It's Roy constantly fielding questions about retirement, his knees, the scandal when all he really wanted to talk about was how much he loved this team and how badly he wanted it for them.

It's this team. This was OUR team. There are teams you like because they are Carolina and you're a Carolina fan and then there are teams you like because you're a human. This was a team you liked because you're a human. Basketball is "just a sport" and this was "just a team" but when the people behind it are these people, it means more. This hurts.

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