Carolina Identity Crisis

This morning as I was dusting my bedroom I was thinking about the Carolina game against NC State coming up in about an hour.  I thought, “Maybe it would be best if we just lose this game.  Then John’s wrist will have time to heal and everyone can rest before next week. AND, that would probably allow state to get into the NCAA Tournament which would be good for the ACC.” (The last part is really what shocked me.) That was when I realized the truth.  I thought I was a Carolina fan, but I’m really just a mom.  This whole Carolina thing is tangled up in motherhood.

Yesterday we had a large portion of our student body gone to a choir competition.  Being good North Carolinians and properly fanatical over college basketball, we decided to show the Carolina/Maryland game in the gym.  I was free, so I was asked to go and sit in the gym.  This would not have been my natural choice.  I don’t like watching Carolina games in company of others unless the others are my family.  I tend to get a bit, well, animated and undignified.  I managed to control myself, however, and present a fairly even composure–then John Henson, my very favorite Tar Heel, went down.  He was pretty obviously in pain.

My stomach did a flip and I felt like I was going to throw up.  I was a wreck for the rest of the game.  Someone came to relieve me, but I stayed because I kept hoping they would give us some word about John.  He came back in briefly, but was still hurting.  He went out to the locker room.  My heart sank.  He came back into the gym for the second half and sat on the bench.  He looked sad.  So was I.

The rest of the game was a blur.  A few times they showed John on the sidelines, though, and he looked better though his wrist was encased in ice.

When I got home after six the first thing I did was check Tar Heel Blue and was relieved to find out that his wrist is not broken.  That’s good, but he needs to rest.  Hence, my morning musings.

My favorite thing about last week’s defeat of Duke was not that we won by 18 points, but that I got to watch the second half with Matt.  Then, the next day when David posted “Go Heels” on his Facebook wall from Afghanistan, I teared up and I wondered if he got to see the game.  I love the Tar Heels because my boys love the Tar Heels, that is the truth, and I love them with a kind of mother-love.  When Tyler Zeller was called for a flagrant foul in the game yesterday, my reaction was not, “stupid ref.” but rather, “Tyler would never do something like that on purpose.”

So, yeah.  If I’m a bit fanatical, it’s because I’m a mom.  I have to get through March without Matt this year, and David is in Afghanistan.  This truth gives me a sort of empty feeling and hurts sometimes so much that it’s hard to breathe, but when I watch the Heels, I feel like we’re together, so watch I will. Go Heels!  And please, please, be careful out there, guys!

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