Home > Sports > Post Super Bowl doldrums? Not in ACC country

Post Super Bowl doldrums? Not in ACC country

Let’s take a stroll down amnesia lane. With the ACC tournament kicking into gear today, it always gets me thinking about how lucky I was to grow up in North Carolina – in the epicenter of college basketball frenzy. It always tickles me when I hear anyone talk about the post-Super Bowl “lull.” Hell, things are just getting started in late January. I always feel like the huge letdown is in April, with only early-season baseball and (blech) NHL and NBA stretch runs.

One of my fondest and most indelible memories from elementary school was the absolute delight that the Friday of the ACC basketball tournament would bring. After five months of jawing with your friends and classmates about who was better – with such witty retorts as “Duke is puke!” and the always classic “Carolina sucks!” – it all boiled down to a three-day sprint to the finish. Now it’s four days, but back then (the late 70s/early 80s for me), it was a long weekend of nothing but basketball.

[Sidenote: Any ACC fan should watch this video – the Pilot Life commercial that used to play at virtually every commercial break during ACC games. If I could only find a Billy Packer commercial for that shady payday loan operation, Mr. Cash. Life would be perfect.]

It must have been third grade when Mrs. Jenkins, no doubt exasperated from our lack of attention that early spring afternoon, fetched a TV from the library and wheeled it down to the classroom. Within minutes, we were watching a grainy picture of the Wilmington station’s feed of the first-round games. It was, without a doubt, the best day I had ever experienced in school.

In fact, the entire Duplin County public school system finally gave up on classes period on that day. Magically, by about fifth grade, we always had a teachers’ workday on that Friday. Sweet sassy molassy, no school in sight… with four games starting at noon.  What did I do to deserve such a gift?

That first ACC tournament without the specter of school is probably my most memorable. My parents had recently bought two cheap-ass beanbags, and I camped out in the those hellaciously comfortable heaps of foam for a solid four-plus hours (through the first two games) in a quasi-coma fueled by Nerds candy, Sun Drop and ACC basketball. During the break from 4:30 to 7:00, a few of us played pickup basketball and replayed each game and got ready for the evening session of two more games. Good times, indeed.

How things have changed. There are now four games today to lead into the four games tomorrow. And my own personal experience is very different as a working man. Tomorrow, I’ll unplug the laptop and take it to my front conference room for the UNC game against Florida State tomorrow. At least I get to watch the game, though.

Just wish I had a bean bag chair.

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