Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Brethren: I live in New York City, where a close childhood friend who went to Davidson also lives. This past weekend ranks up there as one of the best sports weekends he's ever experienced, as the country embraced his small school on a level never known before. His words:
Steve "HB" Kaliski: In moving from Davidson College to New York City this past summer, I realized I was changing a lot more than my address. I was changing my entire universe. From the friendly confines of the Sweet Carolinian liberal arts to the big bad city, not much would survive in transition. These two worlds have as much to say to each other as a Village hipster and a downtown banker, as Cunningham Fine Arts and Martin Chemistry, as a Ewing dunk and a Curry three. Yeah, not a whole lot in common.
I bring this up simply because it’s impossible to talk about my Wildcat bliss this week without talking about New York. My life as a sports fan has been all about cheering for the underdog, and nothing—not Robin Ventura’s grand slam single in 1999, not the Panthers storybook road to the 2003 Super Bowl, not even Dell himself pouncing on Alonzo in the Hornets’ first playoff run—compares to the totally bizarre pride I felt at the New York Post headline “HOYA DESTROYAS!” Or the New York Times front-page “UNEXPECTED GUESTS.” Or a stream of text messages from 917 and 212 area codes reading “CONGRATULATIONS!”
Man, this is weird. New York knows Davidson.
S"HB"K: And nobody loves it more than the 100-strong contingent of Davidson alumni who gathered at the Eastside’s Mercury Bar this past weekend to watch our cats slay some serious dog. When people asked me where I watched the Sunday game, I said, “At a Davidson bar.” A Davidson bar? Like a Gator bar? Or a Hokie bar? Does such a thing exist? On Friday and Sunday it did, and I’ll never forget it.
You must understand: we ‘Cats are a frenzied population, workaholics and playaholics, avidly ready to cheer for our friends when they’re achieving something remarkable. But most of the time, we settle for localized frenzy, a bubble of fun we save for ourselves, telling others, “You shoulda been there.” Now, this whole “nationwide” idea…this is something different. At least for this week, when people ask me where I went to school, I won’t have to say, “Davidson College…North Carolina…just north of Charlotte…small liberal arts school…yeah…” A simple “DA-VID-SONNNN!” should suffice, and even if I have to clarify with, “You know, Stephen Curry,” I won’t mind at all.
And though I’m thrilled to welcome the world to momentary knowledge of my education, the most meaningful consequence of Curry and Company’s March magic is that I’ve never seen the Davidson community itself so united in enthusiasm. Whether on Facebook or Gmail or AIM, every Wildcat status this week says something like “SWEET 16!!” or “DETROIT ROCK CITY!” or simply “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” On a campus where academics loom large, it takes a force mightier than a four-point play to inspire this kind of pandemic pride. It takes a four-point play as the ignition for one of the most inspiring underdog comebacks of all time, a comeback guaranteeing that the ’08 Hoyas will never hear “Sweet Caroline” again without a sweet sweet pang of “How did that happen?!”
Wisconsin, beware. No one wants you to succeed.