Miami eventually prevailed on Sunday over Illinois, 63-59, and will play in the Sweet 16 on Thursday vs. Marquette.
But oh my GOD was that a brutal game to watch.
It wasn’t just because it was so close, and there was a bad call that went in Miami’s favor (though, frankly, the refs owed me one from that bullshit traveling call against Allan Ray in 2005, so I’m not as worried about that) – it was the guilt. So much guilt. I won and I lost at the same time.
I wanted Miami to win but Illinois played better. Like they wanted it more. Miami came through in the end, made a few better plays, defended a few extra 3’s.
But it was so much more. It was my pain vs. my hope, battling each other. If Illinois won, was that a sign I made the right choice? (Not that I can go back in time, but you get it, right?)
Was I even allowed to root for Miami, a school that me so miserable I left for the frozen tundra of Champaign, IL? Why did I even leave? What made me so unhappy? Why do I still latch on to them and not Illinois when the overall experience was probably better at Illinois?
Why am I still talking about this ten years out of college (VOMIT)?
At one point during the game, I had to flip to Twister, which was on ABC Family. I needed a break.
When I think of Miami, I think of the palm trees, the rich kids with the trust funds, the kid in my dorm who got a brand new Audi for a C average.
But I also remember the good friends I eventually made. Driving around in Arthur’s Miata for an entire afternoon. Laughing my ass off. NEVER BEING COLD AND WALKING TO CLASS IN -70 WIND CHILLS.
When I think of Illinois, I think of laughing more, crying more, struggling more. The most boring summer of my life. The fantastic people I met. The shot at having a true college experience vs. going to class at a day spa.
Each place had its ups and downs. Neither was perfect. When it came down to it, I pulled for Miami because …. I just did. I don’t know why. It was my gut, above all else.
It’s fascinating to me how sports can affect people this way.
While you shouldn’t die with your teams wins and losses, there are so many emotions that go into backing them, it’s almost impossible not to.
I’m just glad that particular game is over.