At the risk of offending Southern Baptists, here on Tobacco Road college basketball is an official religion. It is a magical time of year when fans vie for bragging rights as the players scramble for the ACC Banner and an invitation to “The Big Dance.” Loyalty to your family’s college team is right up there with God, Family and Country. So imagine my surprise when I, a devout UNC fan thought my new best friend might be an NCSU fan.
Growing up, the Carolina v. State rivalry was the biggest rivalry in the ACC, but since State hasn’t fared so well the past couple of decades, I sort of root for them if they aren’t playing Carolina. I became an official NCSU fan when they beat the Orange Scourge during the ACC Tourney last weekend, it was the balm that calmed Carolina’s loss to the Yankee interlopers from Pitt.
Louie watched most of this curled up beside me with his eyes shut except during the NCSU v. Syracuse game and he seemed as excited as I was that the Wolfpack was doing so well. I started watching Tyler Lewis thinking if he had Topaz colored eyes, he’d be close to what I imagine Louie would look like as a human. Right down to being 5’11” exactly the height Louie is in my mind. Then it hit me, Tyler Lewis. Lewis/Louie, no wonder my dog identified with NCSU, or so I thought.
NC State lost the next day to Duke, but it was good enough to get them an invite to NCAA Tournament. They beat a very good team from Xavier to secure the #12 seed in the Midwest. They suited up against St. Louis and played beautiful basketball for 35 minutes. NC State was up by 14 with 5 minutes left and managed to lose by 3 in overtime. I looked at Louie, and asked, “Dude, what happened to your team?” He stared at me with those golden eyes until it hit me, Saint Louis. This made perfect sense as given the choice between mere mortal Tyler Lewis and a Saint Louis, I’d pick the saint every time.
I held this theory until Saturday when I noticed that St. Louis was tipping off against the Cardinals and I finally figured it out. Louie is a Louie-ville Cardinals fan. Or maybe he’s just telling me who will win that first Monday in April, in which case I wish we had had this conversation while I was filling out my brackets. Also, this house is Carolina blue (and WCU purple and gold) so if he’s expecting any Cardinal red do-dads, he is going to be mighty disappointed. May your March be filled with mayhem and madness of the most marvelous kind! Go Tarheels!
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. ” ~ Archie Griffen