By Adam Lucas
The waiting is the absolute worst.
The waiting is the absolute best.
Carolina will play in the national championship game tonight, if tonight ever gets here. Science will tell you the longest day of the year is June 21. Science is a fat liar. The longest day of the year, any time that North Carolina is in the championship game, is the first Monday in April.
What do you have to do today? Go to class or have a meeting at work or do some grocery shopping?
Those are all very politically correct answers. Now, what do you really have to do today? Click through the internet and check the clock and text your game buddies and check the clock and watch highlight videos and check the clock. That’s so much more believable.
Phoenix is hot and Phoenix has sprawl and Phoenix is a long way from home. But do you know one incredibly fantastic thing about Phoenix? The time zone. The game starts here at 6:20 p.m. local time, which means three fewer hours to agonize over the outcome. This is especially helpful when you don’t sleep the night before because you are seriously concerned about major world issues, such as free throw shooting.
Right now, on Monday, there is only one absolute certainty: tomorrow there will be no more basketball for six months. Since mid-November, we’ve arranged our lives around it and acted irrationally towards family members because of it, and tomorrow we’re going to desperately miss it. As fast as we want the clock to move today, tomorrow we’ll wish we had these moments back.
We’re spoiled, you know that? If you’re an undergrad, you’ve already had at least four of these days in your life—three that you remember. You had these same interminable hours less than 365 days ago, and just a guess, but this year you’re doing everything completely opposite of what you did last year. Different clothes. Different pregame routine. Look, we all understand intellectually that we have absolutely nothing to do with tonight’s outcome. But…what if we do? Let’s all just be very careful, OK?
There are teams and fans who never get to experience this infernal waiting in a lifetime. We think we’re cheated if one particular class of Tar Heels doesn’t play for a national title. The vast majority of programs never get to do it once in their history.
There are certain fans across the ACC and nation who are having a normal workday today. They’ll watch the game, perhaps, and then simply turn it off when it’s over and go to sleep. We should feel sorry for these people. No celebrating, no agonizing. They have no chance that this will be a day they remember for the rest of their lives.
Bless their hearts.
This is Carolina basketball, where the ceiling is the roof and one single day can simultaneously be glorious and unbearable. I can’t wait. But I will.