I come from a basketball family, and I was raised with a set of strong NCAA men’s basketball allegiances. Always root for the University of Kentucky, West Virginia University, the University of Dayton, and Notre Dame. Always root against Duke.
Hatred of Duke basketball was especially ingrained in me as a kid thanks to my growing up in Chapel Hill, but that wasn’t the true cause. The Anyone-But-Duke rule stems from a lethal combination of my extended family’s eventual proximity to Durham and Kentucky’s 1992 buzzer-beater loss in the final game of the tournament, which Sports Illustrated called “the greatest basketball game of all time.”
According to my family and Kentucky fans everywhere, that publication may have been correct, but the game’s ending was the worst. I was prenatal when that game was played, but I learned as much in the years that followed, hence the anti-Duke stance that prepped me so well for attending UNC.
So all of this leads to an eventful March on years like this one, when UNC, UK, and UD all made it to the madness, and especially sweet was today’s UK win, which allowed them to advance to the Final Four next weekend.
I occasionally voice my discontent with texting and constant carrying of cell phones, but technology has been my friend throughout the tournament thus far. (Thanks for that free streaming, NCAA, even though I have some serious issues with you.)
I was of course cheering on UNC whole-heartedly through the first two rounds, but when UK was the only of my teams left to cheer for today, I streamed the game on my laptop in Davis library and texted my mom and aunt to celebrate toward the end.
No one in my direct vicinity had nearly as much invested in the game as I did, so celebrating and sharing the experience of a major win was heightened by my cell phone. It would have been isolating to be silently cheering at my laptop in the stacks, but texting my aunt as she watched in an airport bar in Nashville and my mom who pulled off of the highway and into a sports bar in Greensboro to catch the end of the game made our all-caps celebratory text exchange into its own experience.
I think it’s healthy to be critical of continual technological “advancement,” but reflecting on my celebration today, I’m a bit more critical of my own critiques of tech.