Losing sucks, there is just no nice way to say it! Last night, UNC lost to dook and it SUCKED! I’m still mad. I’m mad this morning, not that UNC lost, but how they lost. They didn’t play hard. They didn’t play as a team. They weren’t focused on the end goal of winning.

I remember growing up and playing sports, we lost games because guys didn’t hustle. Last night, UNC didn’t hustle and that is what makes losing sucks the most. And at the end of the game, after I had used more bad language than one adult should use, my wife looked at me and said “it is just a game.”

How sweet, she thinks that it is just a game.. No, UNC basketball is a way of life. And when it is the UNC vs. dook game, it is about bragging rights. It is about that stretch between 15-501 that separates these two schools and at the end of the day, losing to the dookies sucks. My Godfather and I have had text messages all night and day. My brother who is in LA and I have been exchanging text messages, I can’t even log onto Facebook today, because all the dookies have photos and it just fuels my anger even more.

Sure, it is just a game, but losing sucks, especially when the outcome could have been different.  So on the way into work this morning, I thought about Dean Smith and the games that he coached against Krashitski and then this quote popped into my head and it rings true today, both for the game and in life.

“What to do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

So, how will UNC learn from the game, because it is in the past and nothing can change the outcome? What will my kids do to learn from their mistakes when they play sports? Recognize the mistake, admit it (Coach Williams has partially done that today), learn from it (he isn’t going to call time outs, so scratch that one) and forget it, and unfortunately, if you ever play sports, you don’t forget it.

Losing sucks and it is hard to get past it sometimes. Today is a new day. Today is a new opportunity. Yesterday is gone and in the past. Learn from the past and make today and tomorrow better.

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8 Miles separates two universities. 8 miles separates a rivalry that is known throughout the United States, but in North Carolina, that rivalry of 8 miles, can dived families and friends. But tonight, two universities meet, #5 UNC vs #20 dook.

Growing up in North Carolina, this was the game that we all waited for. The UNC vs dook game was in fact, the bucket list game for all sports fans. And this past weekend, my family and I went down to Chapel Hill for a game and the excitement was already started to brew among the fans. When the game this past Sunday was out of reach, the topic turned to tonight’s game. Even at the restaurant and walking through campus, fans were talking about the game and how much it means to them. And as fans, we all have memorable games. Danny Green’s drunk. Tyler Hansbourgh. Michael Jordan. James Worthy. Antwan Jameson. Watching Dean Smith walk the sideline. And the list goes on and on and on.

But this game, isn’t just a game. It isn’t just a rivalry between two schools that are only 8 miles apart, it is bigger than that. It is college basketball in the state of North Carolina. It is a game(s) that allow for bragging rights for the year. It is what dreams are made of and highlights on ESPN. For me, it isn’t just another game, it is THE game to watch and as my sons get older and they understand my love for UNC Basketball, they too will love this game as much as I do. They will get to stay up on school nights, as I did, for this game. They will learn the players, the moves, the logic of plays and the history of the rivalry.

Tonight, is more than just a game. It is, college basketball at it’s finest in the great state of North Carolina. And it just so happens, that an 8 mile stretch of 15-501 separate the two campuses.


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Growing up in North Carolina, I UNC Basketball was a way of life. And the rivalries in Tobacco Road with NC State and Dook, these were things that we lived for.  But being a die hard UNC Basketball fan, you learned by watching the legendary coach, Dean Smith. Because, it was not about the individual or the individual awards, but it was about the team. It was about pointing to another player if they give you a pass to score, as a way to say thank you. It was the words of encouragement to lift a team up that is trailing to come back and win the game.

Dean Smith was not a fan of the lime light. He did not want the Dean E. Smith Center to be named for him, because he wasn’t the one the won the games, the team did. That was how Coach Smith was, he didn’t want the attention on him. I was fortunate to meet Coach Smith on a few occasions and he could not have been nicer. He always looked you directly in the eye and made it a point to ask what we wanted to do with our lives and the importance to school. Looking back on that, it is really exactly what I would expect from a teacher.

Coach Smith has been in the media a lot lately, not for his coaching, but for the loss of the man. Not physically, but mentally. Coach Smith has dementia, which in my opinion is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. Dean Smith could remember players names, games, plays, the team managers, but now that is long gone. I found this article yesterday and I couldn’t stop reading it, not because of the way the article talked about how Coach Smith is doing today, but because of all the games, the things that he did for the university in breaking the racial barriers, etc. Coach Smith was a pioneer in many ways, but he was a coach that cared for others first.

I have a DVD that was produced a few years ago for Carolina Basketball and it highlights Coach Smith, so I am able to go back and watch highlights of games that I remember from growing up. I just hate that my boys will never get to see him coach or meet him, because there will never be another Dean Smith.

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Childhood memories are a wonderful thing, most of the time. There are a lot of things from my childhood that I have blocked out, but there are some memories that I have that will last forever. This past Saturday, I got to do something that I have not done in a really long time. I went to a college basketball game with my Godfather.

I can not tell you how many times growing up, my Godfather and his son Matt and I went to see UNC play. I remember going to basketball games at the Dean Smith Center as a young boy and watching in awe of the teams play and more importantly how Coach Dean Smith was on the sideline. I remember how my Godfather was with his son and myself, he took us to places on campus, always paid for our meals, told us that we could never repeat the bad words that were used at the game. These are the childhood memories that I cherish the most.

This past Saturday, my wife and Godfather went to the UNC vs. Wake Forest game at the Dean Dome and it was like I was a kid again, relieving so many childhood memories. My Godfather and I were high fiving, booing the refs and just having a blast. We talked about games this year and games that we saw years ago.  These are the things that I’ll never forget. These moments of being a kid and relieving my childhood memories and one day very soon, I’ll get to take my sons to the Dean Dome for their first game and they too will begin making their own childhood memories.

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BasketballMarch Madness has come and gone. We have moved on from college basketball and the thrills of March Madness to Major League Baseball. But in a recent conversation with my brother, we came to one conclusion, the game as we once knew it, is gone. March Madness will rarely have the same impact as it once did. The game of college basketball has changed and not in a good way.

The players today are being recruited with the intention of only stays 1, maybe 2 years, whereas players would stay all 4 years. UNC lost 3 of their starters to the NBA this year: Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and John Henson. All deserve to go and make the money. All deserve to fulfill their dreams and taking their careers to the next level. But as a college basketball fan, I hate it. College coaches are rebuilding each year, not to get better, but to replace the starters that are leaving as sophomores.

Gone are the rivalries. Gone are the players that play because they love the game, not because of their career changes in the NBA. Gone is the game.

So, as I reflect on March Madness, the best team won this year. Kentucky. Granted I would have loved to have seen a rematch between Kentucky and UNC but it was not meant to be. But this offseason, UNC will replace 3 players and Kentucky, well Kentucky will have to replace their entire starting 5 players.

The game has changed and March Madness will never be the same again.  But for those of us that have loved the game and followed the game of college basketball for years, I will get to share stories with my sons about the game use to be.

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That is what I kept telling myself last night after the UNC vs Dook game where Dook hit a 3 pointer with 1 second to go to win the game. It is just a game.
I was trying to think of ways to justify the loss this morning, not defending the 3, poor fouls, fatigue, etc, but it is just a game. And then I got thinking, how can I
use this for when the boys are older and UNC loses a game? I’m still working on that one, but it really is just a game. Today, the adults are sitting around their offices,
sending text messages, emailing, making calls etc talking about the game, what they would have done differently and what should have happened.

But at the end of the day, it is just a game. The players were probably in class today. Study hall later. Practice, film review, hitting the weight room and trying to prepare
for the game this weekend. And though, like the rest of the fans, I’ve been texting my brother and Godfather about the game, how we feel, what we would have done
differently if we were coaching and it comes back to one ringing fact, it is just a game. I just hope that when my boys are older and we watch UNC Basketball games,
that I can remember that it is just a game and not get too caught up in it.

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It is almost tip off for the UNC vs Dook game and I’ve already started pacing around the room. Being from NC, I grew up watching this game as a child and the importance of how 8 miles separate two schools, but there is a division within the state between the fans of these two teams.  I hate that I’m not at the game, because I’m missing the game, but also because I am missing out on spending time with my Godfather.

Tonight is like Christmas Eve for me, waiting for the game. Sitting on the edge of my seat, usually muting the tv, because the announcers just can not use some of the choice phrases that I like using during the game. The difference this year, I will not be able to jump up and down throughout the game or the loud out bursts. But hopefully, UNC will pull out the win and it will be a quiet night.


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There are a few days that I really look forward to, today being one of them, because it is Game Day! Not just any game, but the UNC vs Dook game.  And yes, as most good UNC fans, I started off with my game day traditions. Same breakfast that I ate for the last victory; drove the same route to work; packed the same lunch; when I get home, I’ll put on the same UNC shirt that I always wear (and no, it hasn’t been washed since the last lost), why do this, because it is Game Day! For those that live outside of NC, 8 miles separate these schools. A stretch of highway that separates Good vs Evil. So today, I work, thinking about the game, ready for the 9:00pm tip off. Watching a few clips to get me going and pumped for tonight, but you see, on Game Day, all of these things are just a routine, a way of life, because since I was 5 and understood the rivary between these two schools, my life was forever changed.

So, if time permits, I’ll update this today, but these are two videos that I watched already:

  • Here is an ESPN clip previewing the game tonight and couldn’t agree more with the analysis. Dook’s defense is usually at best, ok. They allow a lot of points and have struggled against teams that wanted to run against them, which UNC will do.
  • And then who can forget this clip on Youtube


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I am quickly realizing that being a parent isn’t just about raising your children, but it is also about having to make sacrifices. Last night I got a call from my Godfather and he quickly offered me a ticket for the UNC vs. Dook game tomorrow night. As a HUGE UNC fan and this being one of the greatest games of the year, this one was a tough call. It would have really been easy to say yes, but a few thoughts quickly jumped into mind:

1) The game is a 9pm tip off, so that would require a hotel room – probably around $150-$200
2) The drive is about 6 hours from home, so that is 3 tanks of gas at $150 roughly & taking a day and a half off from work.
3) My wife just started a new job, so that would/could have posed problems as well for taking care of the kids.
4) Did I really want to be away from the boys?
5) And most importantly, how can I say yes to a game that would have cost about $300 to go to the game, when I have asked my wife to cut out some expenses.

As much as I would love to be at the game tomorrow night, I realized that part of being a parent, is that sometimes, I have to make sacrifices, including passing up on tickets for the game of the year. But, there will be another game next year and the year after that as well.

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