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26

Mar

Singing The Carolina Blues

The voicemail from my grandfather: “I saw that Carolina lost. Keep your head up, there’s always next year.”

A lot of people will never understand how we feel right now. How a game could have such control over you. They’ll never understand why you switch chairs throughout the game trying to find the one that will help your team drop a shot as if it will make any difference. You do what you can to help, to get through those taxing forty minutes.

It’s not just a jersey. It’s not just a color. It’s a flag. It’s a reminder of everything good about the town you were raised in. It’s your family, your friends, the party you got your first kiss and the fires in the streets you jumped over as smoke disappeared into a night sky freckled with stars. It’s a chance to return, if only mentally, to a place you don’t get to visit nearly enough.

How would you describe the feeling? For me it is a gloomy, cheerless anger. It’s heartbreaking coming to terms with the idea that the season is over, that we missed our chance to capitalize on a squad that comes every five years. I despise the idea that if it hurts this bad for me it must be ten times worse for the players that fight for me. The anger I feel isn’t directed towards our opponent, but instead distributed between the refs and our own team. I feel like Barnes plays to not get hurt, like Roy doesn’t control the game in the last five minutes like he should, like a referee should know a travel when sees one and various other thoughts I know I’m in no place to even consider. I coached a middle school team of 9 players who could barely tie their shoes for two years. What do I know?

I wish you luck getting to sleep tonight Tar Heel nation. Tomorrow when this hurts a little less I’ll pick up the phone and give my grandpa a call back. His voice will do the same thing watching my Heels lace up and step on the floor does- remind me of where I come from. I urge you to wear something carolina blue tomorrow. We have to represent the great north state until our colors are streaking down the hardwood again next season.

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