Uncertainty

I’ve been thinking a lot lately and it’s kind of ironic that the name of my blog has a lot of meaning at this time in my life. We’ve all graduated from high school, but graduating from college has a different feel about it. It’s another point in your life that might leave you with a ton of uncertainty.

Becoming part of the real world for good is a scary thought and sight. I ask myself daily if I am truly ready for it. But, even if I’m not, it’s not like I really have a choice, I think that’s what keeps me up at night the most.

Yes, there are ways after college to delay one’s entrance to the real world but looking ahead all you are really doing is delaying the inevitable.

Maybe uncertainty isn’t all that bad. After all, the possibilities and dreams in this world are endless, especially for those with college degrees. I think I’ve started to realize that every single person takes a different path, even if they end up in the same place as someone else.

The closer we get to graduation, the more at peace I become with the uncertainty in my life. Things have a way of working out, they have before and I’m sure they will again. That doesn’t mean you can sit around and do nothing, waiting for an opportunity to arise. You have to make and create your own opportunities. They aren’t always going to turn out for the best, but you can learn something from each and every one that you are given.

There are thousands of people graduating from college with the same uncertainty I have. That’s another thing that gets to me, there is so much competition out there. But I believe that what sets people apart is how they face that competition and the adversity that the uncertainty of life provides us.

At the end of the day, my mind wanders back to thinking I should be thankful that I have the opportunity to graduate from a great university, that I have the opportunity to search for a job or go to a graduate school. Not everyone is lucky enough to face the type of uncertainty that I am facing.

At the end of the day, it may just be a blessing in disguise.

A Dream Sports Week

If someone told me a year ago that UNC would win the national championship late on a Monday night AND I would get to attend the Masters on Saturday and Sunday, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. But it happened, it really happened. It’s one of the moments you look back on and you almost have to pinch yourself, did it really happen?

2016 was an awful sports year as a fan for me. Two of my teams lost in the championship game (Panthers/Heels) and the Braves were in the middle of a huge rebuilding year. It made me reflect on how important sports are in some people’s lives.

When I say that 2017 has been the best sports year I’ve ever experienced I’m not lying. Yes it’s only April, but I’ve already seen my school win a National Championship as a Senior (talk about dream come true) and been to one of the greatest sporting events in the world in Augusta.

The Masters is a magical place to be. It was almost surreal walking onto the course. This was a place I had seen on tv dozens of times, but there is nothing that can compare to being there and walking across the course. Standing feet away from the likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Rickie Fowler, it was amazing.

I even got to meet Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ QB.

What are the chances? National Championship, attending the Masters, and meeting Aaron Rodgers while at Augusta. Can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 has in store.

 

Redemption

This may seem cliche as I’m sure there have been a lot of people discussing this in the last few days, but I think it’s still important.

UNC’s run to the National Championship game, one year after losing in the final, is nothing short of extraordinary. Not that people viewed this team as lacking the talent to do so, but in the sense of the strength of mind it takes to accomplish such a feat.

The average person will never know what this means to players on the basketball team, but I can tell you what it means to me. It has given me a new definition of redemption, a first hand experience so sweet that I’m not sure it will ever be topped. I can only begin to imagine what the players felt, what Roy Williams felt. Some of the things on twitter provide a good example of this, including this video, the UNC basketball twitter account simply put up with one word, Redeemed.

It is one of the more powerful videos I’ve seen. The raw emotion on Isaiah Hicks’ face, the one player who deserved a National Championship more than anyone, is so unbelievably moving. Seeing the net being placed over this head by Roy Williams is grand. I know this is something he will never forget.

And I know this championship will be something I never forget. The 55 thousand people who rushed Franklin Street after the final buzzer sounded won’t ever forget it either.

One year after heartbreak, here we are. What a way to end senior year. I will always be thankful for this everlasting experience and for truly understanding what it feels like to see my childhood dream to be achieved, a National Championship while a student at the greatest university in the world.

One month till graduation

This blog post is a little different from the recent ones I’ve been doing. It does have to do with where we are going, and by we I’m really talking about college seniors. I know I’m not the only one getting ready to graduate, not the only one with a lot of uncertainty in my life, but regardless it’s easy to feel that way.

I mean after all, the rest of my birthdays seem meaningless at this point, just like everyone told me they would after you turn 21. Growing up is scary.

I think this time in our lives demands a lot of soul searching, even more so than leaving home after high school did. There’s a lot of pressure to be successful, especially after graduating from prestigious universities. Nobody wants to have to rely on their parents at this point in their lives. I think all of those things make this time in our lives particularly challenging.

One day I’m confident I’ll look back on this stressful stage and laugh, but understand that this period was one of the most defining periods of my lifetime. Luckily, there are tons of other people out there feeling the same thing, outside of the lucky, extremely qualified ones who already have job offers or have accepted a job.

At the end of the day, I really think the most important thing, aside from applying for jobs, is to enjoy the rest of the time we have left in school.

It’s hard to believe that I really only have one month of college left. Leaving UNC won’t be easy, but not everything in life comes easy. Here’s to hoping for stability in our lives again, sooner rather than later.

And if you need any inspiration here you go.

Bring the ACC tournament back to Greensboro

I’m sitting here watching the Miami/Syracuse game currently taking place at the Barclays Center on ESPN and the first thing that came to my mind is, where is the Syracuse crowd? Isn’t this the whole reason the tournament was moved to Brooklyn?

Granted, the crowd is starting to fill in, but that’s mainly because Duke is about to play.

I get the reasoning behind it and I don’t have a problem with the tournament moving around every once in a while. Attendance for the 2016 tournament in Washington was down almost 16k from attendance for the 2015 tournament in Greensboro. Greensboro actually holds more people than the Verizon Center in Washington, but the fact that the tournament regularly sells out in Greensboro tells you all you need to know about college basketball in the triangle.

The tournament won’t be back in Greensboro until 2020, that of course is reliant on HB2 being repealed. Regardless, it shouldn’t leave for 5 years. Greensboro is the center of ACC basketball. You can add teams from the west coast and I’d still consider Greensboro the center.

To me, it’s all about tradition, it’s all about tobacco road, and the original ACC teams. After 2020, I hope we bring the ACC tournament back to Greensboro for good.

 

The NCAA and conflicts of interest

Not too many people are familiar with how the NCAA infractions committee works or who it is made up of, but recently I’ve tried my best to keep up with it considering UNC is currently under investigation by the NCAA.

I’ll start things off by saying first and foremost, I am convinced the NCAA is corrupt. I think college sports would be better off if they were governed by conferences regardless of the corrupt nature of the NCAA.

Recently, the NCAA sent UNC a third Notice Of Allegations (NOA). This one was amended and added charges back in that were in the first NOA. This is where things get interesting because the committee of infractions (COI) encouraged the NCAA enforcement staff to submit a new NOA even though there was no “new” evidence supporting the reversal back to the original allegations.

That leads to a bigger issue, and my biggest issue with the NCAA and particularly the COI at this moment. The COI is chaired by Greg Sankey, who is also the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). How is this fair? Particularly in the case of the NCAA and Ole Miss. Why is the commissioner of the SEC allowed to preside over infraction hearings and such against one of his member schools?

Whether or not one wants to admit it, there is an implicit bias for Sankey, there has to be. He is going to be partial to the conference that pays his salary and the conference that provides personal successes to him.

I suggest the NCAA, while it should be dissolved, at least attempt to promote impartialness, which it is obviously failing to do by putting institution members and conference commissioners on its committee of infractions.

There should be an independent investigative unit, one without members of institutions within the NCAA. Until this happens, there is no way to believe or prove the punishments and the findings to be fair or impartial.

How much weight do records hold in “rivalries”?

If I told you Team A had won 27 of the last 30 games against Team B, would you consider that a rivalry? How about if I told you at one point, Team C won 19 games in a row on Team D’s home court, would you consider that a rivalry?

In those two scenarios, Team A is UNC, Team B is NCSU, Team C is Kansas and Team D is Kansas State. These are all what I think many would call, geographic rivalries. But I can think of a thousand reasons why geography shouldn’t be the only dictator of rivalries.

I understand that notion that some rivalries are natural. UNC-duke, easily the best rivalry in college basketball, is a great example of that. But there are some legendary performances and games that have occurred in that series, and recently there hasn’t been a stretch nearly as one sided as the stretch UNC is on against NC State.

There is a reason that the best rivalries in sports are generally ultra competitive. You don’t go into those games and think that there is no way one team or the other team can or cannot win. In the games they’ve played, UNC leads duke 134-108. In games against NCSU, UNC leads 153-77. In games against Wake Forest, UNC leads 158-66.

If we are looking at the two relative to each other, the only factor State has over Wake Forest may be the fact that they are a state institution along with UNC.

Those are the three factors that should be taken into account regarding rivalries. I think the order should go: Geographic, type of institution, record, in that order.

I think sometimes journalists and journalistic institutions are too quick to push rivalries, like when ESPN pushed the the Syracuse/Duke game as a rivalry just because one game ended on an insane buzzer beater. It’s all about the ratings, but watch a real rivalry, watch the fans interact, that’s how you know the difference between a “rivalry” for ratings and a true blue blooded rivalry.

Sports dictating our moods

It’s been a rough weekend for UNC fans but we sure have been blessed with some amazing weather and it’s made me think about how much I let sports dictate how I feel, especially recently.

2016 was easily one of the worst sports years for North Carolina sports. EVER.

Between the loss in the national championship game that I really want to forget, the loss in the super bowl by the Panthers and the Hornets coming painstakingly close to finally winning a playoff series, it was a rough year. The Men’s and Women’s lacrosse championships were pretty sweet though.

The point is, we as a society, or at least most people I know, are so enthralled in sports that a loss can seem like the worst thing in the world. Sports transcend almost everything in life, it’s almost poetic. I don’t mind the lows and the highs that sports bring to me but on days like today, where it is absolutely beautiful outside, it makes me think about how there are so many things in life that make losses and wins seem so small in the grand scheme of things.

That’s particularly important this weekend and over the past year. Every loss, no matter how much it hurts, can be countered by enjoying the outdoors with friends or doing something else you love doing. And this is coming from someone who is obsessed with sports and UNC basketball.

It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about recently and it’s almost an epiphany that I’ve been having recently. So just keep in mind after losses in crucial games, that every thing is going to be alright.

Plus March Madness is only a month away. Bold prediction, we will be cutting the nets down in Phoenix at the end of the year anyways. This is the year for celebration. 2017 is going to be a good sports year.

 

The Greatest Rivalry in Sports

It’s my senior year andthe last first UNC/duke game of my college days is tomorrow. So I thought it’d be cool to reflect on the greatest rivalry in sports and how the experience has defined my life in college.

ESPN showed a stat the other day that the last 90 or so times we’ve played against that school 8 miles down the road we’ve both scored the same amount of total points. That just goes to show you how good the rivalry is. On top of that, the two schools have combined for 5 national championships over the span of my 21 years in this world, not many rivalries see that much success in such a short period of time.

Growing up, I experienced Raymond Felton failing to get a shot up in the last 15 seconds of the game, Tyler Hansbrough taking a shot from Gerald Henderson, and perhaps my favorite, the Marvin Williams and-1 to complete one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the rivalry (outside of 8 points in 17 seconds).

I’ve experienced heartbreak plenty of times (the austin rivers shot). I’ve seen Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green win 4 in a row at Cameron Indoor (that graduating class without a doubt had the best experience against duke).

But the good memories stick the most. Rushing Franklin Street after winning in Cameron Indoor last year. Watching duke lose in the first round to Lehigh and to Mercer in the first round. That’s what, in my opinion, dictates the rivalry. Neither team ever wants to see the other team succeed. I remember praying for Gordon Hayward’s half court shot to go in in the 2010 National Championship game and I can only imagine how duke fans felt at the end of last season.

This rivalry feels different as a student. The hatred for duke is far greater when you are a student and the games mean far more. As I take these final months with me as a UNC undergrad, the two duke games and the ensuing March Madness I have left will hopefully be some of the greatest memories of my life.

Here’s to seeing a UNC victory tomorrow night and as always GO TO HELL duke!!

The future of ESPN

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of changes regarding ESPN and its programming. There’s been a lot of commercials about their new 6 o’clock show particularly. This show is set to feature Michael Smith and Jemele Hill as the lead analysts for the 6 o’clock sports center. Their emergence and the commercial that is promoting this show notes that the show will focus on not only sports, but also music and other pop culture areas. This made me wonder how much longer ESPN will be able to last.

We already know that ESPN had a rough 2016. In the month of October, the station lost over 600,000 subscribers. It’s pretty apparent that their sports-only programming isn’t something that is going to be successful forever. They seem to be moving away from this platform because they sense this to be the case.

In the day and age of social media and apps, it has become increasingly easier to watch highlights when and where you want to watch them. Thus making Sportscenter less and less popular and resulting in the need to dominate it with personalities who people want to watch.

This, coupled with the downward spiral in NFL viewership, which hurts ESPN’s baby, Monday Night Football, has brought in to doubt what was once one of the highest grossing stations. No one thought it was possible to have a 24 hour sports channel before ESPN. I believe that this still may be an issue and it’s becoming a bigger issue as social media and streaming services become more and more prevalent.

I’m not sure that ESPN will survive throughout my lifetime, but it seems apparent that there needs to be something else done, something that revolutionizes the channel and the 24 hour sports cycle. I don’t necessarily have an answer to that, but I do believe they may have found a niche by taking on pop culture in their 6 pm sports hour too. I love what they’ve done with Scott Van Pelt and the SVP Sportscenter at night.

It’ll be interesting to see how Michael Smith and Jemele Hill work out on SC at 6 but they have been fairly successful in their other program. Follow the ratings of their show closely because it will likely dictate the future of ESPN as we know it.