Paint This Town Red

It’s been a basketball weekend, in this Basketball State.

There was a rotating, happy crowd for Thursday’s games at the PR, and then a second shift at Tyler’s. Friday was huge, with 3 ACC teams playing. We hit Natty Greene’s for the State game, then over to Durham for a few minutes of excellent beer and a big screen at Fullsteam while UNC won,

and then it was over to Devine’s, where the girls and I watched Duke go down in flames to Lehigh. Lehigh! In Durham.  Durham was a quiet, quiet place when we left, other than a rogue cataclysmic rainstorm which kicked up the minute Duke started losing.  It was like something was slightly tilted in the cosmic axis when that happened.  In a good way, but we kept that on the down-low, being in Durham and all.  Nobody likes an obnoxious winner.

The thing with the tournament is, you have to keep your eye on it, because things will turn in the time it takes to bobble a ball or miss a free throw.  Every second counts.  Every possession counts.  You never know when a giant will fall, or when a so-so ranked team will go all “Sweet Sixteen” on you when you least expect it.

Which leads me to the point of this post:  Go Pack, and I could not love you more than I do right this minute.  

Yesterday’s games broke my heart; my Gonzaga bracket is busted, AND I lost $5 to JJ on it.  I blame the fact were all momentarily tangled in a sea of drunken people in green,

and my unwavering support wavered while we gave in to the day and had a Guinness in the mayhem at Napper Tandy’s. But yesterday’s broken heart was made whole again this afternoon, when my boys in red pulled it off, and my eleventh seed hometownies made it to the Sweet Sixteen. It was a close one. I hid under a magazine for part of it, and there was some controlled cursing, but mostly I just curled up into a little ball and prayed really hard at the end.

After the game, and my third stop at the PR this week for more basketball and friends, I had to take a little campus nostalgia tour. There’s the belltower, which is never prettier than in the spring:

and Kamphoefner Hall, where I lived up in the architecture studios for 3 1/2 years, not very long ago.

I mean, I had a house of my own and all, but I didn’t see much of it in grad school. My studio was my ‘hood. For better or for worse, but mostly for better. I don’t drive through campus that often, because honestly, it’s too soon. It still means too much. It still makes me anxious to remember the sleepless nights, the inhuman workload, and the superimposed drama of an architecture design review. But design school changed the way I think about all kinds of things, and made me see culture and humanity in a whole different light. It taught me that I can do all kinds of things I didn’t know I could do, and the people I love from those years, I will love forever.

There’s a lot more to campus than these College of Design pictures, but I never saw it. This is the part of State that’s mine.

So this week, I am going to get LOUD, people. I will wear red, and sing fight songs, and trash talk, and pull for State with everything I have, because I am really, really proud of my school. Also: suddenly this bracket does not look quite so ridiculous.

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