The unthinkable happened on Saturday. I have been so busy the past few weeks that I forgot to put in my ticket request for the Duke game. Insert pout, foot stomping and watery eyes. In the 13 years since I have arrived in the Capital City, I have never missed a home game against Duke. Regardless, if we were having a winning season or not, I was there. I even ventured over to Cameron Indoor one year to take in the festivities from press row. I was smushed the whole game but the students were nice enough to help me over the table when I needed to get up. Yes, over the table. We lost that game but I got to meet the great Kareem Abdul-Jabar. I tried to contain my excitement but my mouth had other plans. It let out a squeal as soon as he entered the room.
Anywho, back to the topic. Ah, my beloved alma mater. This game had been hyped up since the beginning of the season. The Pack was picked to finish first in the ACC. Duke was picked second. The Pack was ranked number six in the preseason polls. I do not recall what Duke was ranked nor do I care. After two early season losses, there were really rumblings about whether or not the Pack could really take the ACC. All those questions were answered when the Pack shut up their critics hard on a warm Saturday in January. The questions about the Pack’s toughness, chemistry, ability to hang with top teams in the nation and killer instinct were trampled at mid-court as students(shoutsout to Will Privette….the student who rushed the court in his wheelchair and is kind of a big deal….that is how we roll!!!) rushed to celebrate with the young men who had essentially let the nation know that THE PACK IS BACK!!!
Sure, lots of folks, namely fans of the blew schools, think Pack fans are overreacting. Eh, who cares?! We just beat one blew school and we are not even sure if the other blew school has a basketball team this year. When Mark Gottfried came to State two years ago, he was a relative unknown. However, Athletic Director Debbie Yow saw something in him that convinced her that he was the man for the job. He immediately told WOLFPACK fans that he wanted to return the program to its prominence. He no longer wanted us to live off of our old history but create some new history. As much as I wanted to believe it, I had my doubts. I knew nothing about Gottfried but I am always willing to give a coach a chance because it only takes the right one to get things going. However, I never thought he would turn things around so quickly.
As I celebrated on Hillsborough Street on Saturday (hey, it is what we do), I reflected on our rich history. We are still one of only 14 schools to win multiple NCAA Championships. We are forever linked with the late great Jim Valvano. We can also claim that arguably the game’s best player EVER called Reynolds Coliseum home, David Thompson.
While most may not understand the jubilation Pack fans experienced Saturday, you do have to take a closer look and wonder what is going on in Raleigh. You nervous yet? You should be. The Pack played great Saturday but not nearly as great as they can. You still looking. You can stop now. You do not have a clue :-}. I will help you out and keep it simple for you, it’s a WOLFPACK THING, YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND!!! Now howl on that.
Until next time….TOODELLS.