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In the Time of Tar Heels: A Short Story

March 29, 2014

The week ended and the weekend began with Duke losing. I laughed.

After I laughed, I texted Aisander, a Duke fan, "At least your sons aren't old enough that they will remember what Mercer means." Then I laughed some more and wished Aisander's sons were older.

After laughing some more, I gathered myself. North Carolina still had to play Providence. 

James McAdoo made foul shots. North Carolina beat Providence. 

I enjoyed the internet bounty tabulating Duke's loss. Victory affords one the freedom to tabulate others' miseries. 

On Saturday, I looked at my bracket. My bracket predicted Iowa State's victory over North Carolina. I doubted the accuracy of my already busted bracket. I talked myself into North Carolina winning. 

Sunday came. I worked on graduate paper. Between paragraphs, I watched the game. North Carolina trailed. Brice Johnson limped. First half deficit. Then the comeback. I gave up on doubt for the second time in two days. 

With three minutes and forty seconds left, I looked at my bracket and started seeing a path to the Final Four; a crack of thin blue in an otherwise unknowable sky. 

Threes rained down from the same spot on the floor from an Iowa State player who will forever remain nameless. This has happened many times before. Tokoto scored a big basket. McAdoo made foul shots, again. Tokoto gave up a big basket. Nate Britt, a freshman, got caught looking at that thin blue line of sky. He looked, but he didn't see. 

In his mind, Roy Williams played out an overtime that never came in the eternity of a Sunday evening. In fact, he may still be playing it out in his mind. 

Fin.


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