Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An old passion comes to life

I couldn’t sit still. I kept moving around in my chair. My legs were shaking. Every couple of minutes I got up and paced. My heart rate had gone up—I could tell.

What was I so nervous about? Was it a situation at work? Was I trying to stare down a compulsion? Was it a panic attack?
No. It was a basketball game.

I don’t think I’ve ever written on this blog about the obsession that I once had about basketball, specifically college basketball. It wasn’t an OCD obsession. It didn’t adversely affect my life. It was more of a passion. I haven’t indulged in it for a long time, but Tuesday night, I did.

I had a passion for college basketball, especially ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) games, especially University of Virginia games.
It started when I was in high school. I remember watching my first NCAA championship game in 1979: Indiana State versus Michigan State, Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson. I was pulling for Indiana State. Even though Michigan State prevailed, I was hooked.
I soon discovered UVA basketball, when Ralph Sampson joined the team during the 1979-1980 season. Sampson, Jeff Lamp, Jeff Jones, Ricky Stokes, Lee Raker—those were among the names I followed every Saturday afternoon, watching the games on TV.
I knew who most of the starting players were on all eight teams in the ACC. I knew who all the coaches were. I read the sports pages and even kept a scrapbook of clippings about Virginia basketball.
I loved the constant action of basketball, the finesse, the beauty of the basketball swooshing through the net, the skills required.
When I watched the games, I was totally immersed. I called out to the players, encouraging them. I cheered, I yelled, I pounded on the floor.
My family put up with me.

When I was a student at UVA from 1981-83, I attended a game at University Hall every chance I got.
During my first year, a guy I had met at a party called me up one late afternoon to see if I’d like to watch that night’s game on TV with him. I politely declined, telling him I had a ticket to the game and would be there in person.
My suitemates were astounded that I would turn down a “date” to go to a basketball game. I was astounded that they thought I would give up the chance to be there.
No worries. The guy called later and said he’d scored a ticket, so we attended the game together.

As I got older, I got busier with adult responsibilities and didn’t keep up with the game.
Right now, I can’t name five players on the UVA team. I can’t even name all the teams in the ACC anymore.
But Tuesday night, I watched the game between Virginia and one of its archrivals, Virginia Tech.
Virginia is having a very good year—the best since the early 1980s, when I was such a fan. I finished up at work earlier than usual for a Tuesday night, so I came home and turned on the game.
It was a nail biter. Virginia Tech made Virginia work for the win, but my team won: 57-53.
And I was almost as excited as I was when I was a teenager. Go, ‘Hoos!
I think more games are in my near future.

And on a side note, the win was particularly sweet because I live with a Virginia Hokie. Yes, Larry is a Hokie. But I claim victory tonight.

What passion from your past do you still hold on to?


  1. Oh Tina it is so exciting seeing your passion and obvious excitement for something other than your incredible writing. HUG B

  2. i know a lot of folks who love each of those teams ... we see the flags flying all the time. cars all decked out in the teams stickers & all. i enjoy see it ... but i have never been in a similar boat. my Dad went to VA Tech. i live closer to UVA. to be honest i would have no clue how to pick which is better??! i will that to the fans. ( :

  3. I've been a fan of the Nebraska Cornhusker football team since I was a kid -- and follow them every year. So I know what it's like to be passionate about your "home" team. :)

  4. We need things that can take our mind off regular things for a while. It's a healthy situation.

  5. that's neat - especially when your team won. :)

  6. Glad you enjoyed the game and have such fond memories!

  7. omgoodness, basketball, i would have never guessed!! i am a soccer girl, i love soccer but rarely watch any sport anymore!!

    so happy to read about another of your passions!!

  8. My family are all Hokies - my brothers and sister in law and uncles and dad all went there. Me? I'm ambivalent - I went elsewhere, plus I don't really get into sports anyhow ;-) Glad you enjoyed the game!

  9. Hmmm, one passion I still cling to from my past are model horses. Of course I don't play with them anymore, but I did go to great lengths to find a replacement set of The Black Stallion set of horses on eBay. They may just sit on a shelf, but looking at them brings back hours of memories of playtime.

  10. i've never really been into basketball until my boys started playing. it really is an exciting game!


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