The last few years, I’ve been attending quite a few of Washington University’s basketball games. My dad’s a fan and has gone to almost every game for years; my brother goes to most. The coach is a member of
their our church. And for the last three years, the son of my good friends Kurt and Sue has been playing for Wash. U. as a point guard.
Plus, they play some exciting basketball, and this year in particular, it’s been very good basketball, good enough to win their conference and make it into the NCAA Division III tournament. They’re even a host site for the first weekend of games, with a four-team mini-bracket playing tonight and tomorrow night.
One of the other teams in the bracket is North Central College of Naperville, Ill. And North Central happens to be my Alma Mater. It’s where I spent the last two years of my swimming career. At one time, for a conference swimming meet, I had a large picture of a Cardinal drawn in ink on my back. Another time, I shaved my head. North Central is where I first received actual money (though not much) for working in journalism. It’s where, in two years, I learned more about economics than fully half the current members of Congress.
And North Central College is where I met my future wife.
Tonight, March 2, is the prelims of the four-team subregional. (Like the NCAA Division I tournament, the Division III tournament has six rounds of games, to whittle [about] 64 teams down to one champion). North Central will play against the Fightin’ Engineers of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology at 5:30 p.m., and Wash. U. will take on Buena Vista University at 7:30 p.m. It should be a fun night: two intense games in a row.
BUT, if NCC and WU both win tonight, that means they’ll meet tomorrow night in a battle to make it to the “Sweet 16” of the tournament. It’s obviously going to be a dilemma for me. I’ll have to go the game and try to root for BOTH teams, which probably sounds easier than it is. Sporting events, and perhaps basketball games in particular, are much more enjoyable if you have a rooting interest in one team or another. By definition, it’s essentially impossible to root for both teams at once.
Oh well, that’s the proverbial bridge that I’ll cross when I come to it. At least tonight, I can be happily partisan during both games and just enjoy them, rooting for my team in each one.
Friday night update: Well, it’s all playing out according to form. North Central won an intensely exciting game, 74-71, and then Washington U. won relatively easily, 71-59. So my Alma Mater and my new adopted team will meet tomorrow night in a game that will end one of their seasons. Either way, though, I’ll have something to celebrate.