On my train ride to school this morning, my beloved Tar Heel basketball team lost to Kansas in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Days like this one are more upsetting than the day after one’s birthday. Worse than waiting 364 more days until your next birthday is the feeling of waiting seven more months to see those Carolina blue uniforms at Late Night with Roy.
Although I am living in Japan and therefore have no access to ESPNU, Top of the Hill or the Dean Dome, I fully enjoyed my Carolina boys this season. Nothing will make you realize how much you love 17 boys and one Roy Williams more than being on the opposite side of the world.
Even though I could not fervently watch every game, I think I have done my civic duty to Chapel Hill and America by spreading light blue love around Japan (#goheelsgoamerica). With a 14-hour time difference, I have watched games (or read play-by-play updates) in settings most unfit for basketball. The first heart-breaking Duke game was not watched, but read at my desk. Those succinct to-the-point text-updates garnered more of an emotional response than reading Of Mice and Men, or possibly even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. To the ESPN reporter who furiously typed and edited said updates—somehow, your knack for unbiased sports journalism brought tears to my eyes.
The Duke game with a happier ending was watched in the comfort of my apartment. The fact that I had to set an alarm clock for 7 a.m. and watch it on my 15-inch computer screen is completely irrelevant. Further, on Saturday I followed the Ohio game on my iPhone whilst in a hair salon. Even with enough tin foil in my hair to pick up satellite signals and communicate with aliens, I had to resort to ESPN MobileWeb. My heart raced through overtime as I watched tiny little circles in place of a big Tyler Zeller and a black falcon Harrison Barnes.
So, needless to say, I am proud of you Heels. I am proud of you for winning the ACC championship. I am proud of you for making it to the elite eight. I am proud that Obama believes in us. I am proud that every Japanese person knows Michael Jordan. I am proud that Sports Depot sells UNC athletic apparel. My undying love for you has, on multiple occasions, drained my iPhone battery to zero prior to 11 a.m. It has made multiple people question my subconscious attraction to light blue. And finally, this love (that is synonymous with obsession) has made me further realize my steadfast love for the Tar Heel state! アメリカのノースカロライナからきました。(I am from rah-rah North Carolina—without the rah rahs).