Wildcats Meet Huskies

I’m a fair weather basketball fan. I like the most exciting games, which are usually played during the playoffs. Sometimes in the regular season I’ll turn on a Celtics game to see if I can find my brother, who’s had season’s tickets four rows behind the Celtics bench for many years. He’ll often call to tell me what he’s wearing, but I still can’t seem to locate him.

Guess I have odd reasons for watching basketball games. Besides the excitement — and the fact I can understand the game — I enjoy observing the jubilant winning team. Dan has pointed out that he’s never seen anyone be a sports fan for such a flimsy reason.

Guess I’ll also have to admit that I’m a UCONN alum. What could be cuter than a big white fluffy mascot?

On Saturday, when Tucson’s beloved University of Arizona Wildcats met the Huskies, I figured history would burst through and I would break into “Connecticut UCONN Huskies, Victory Again for the White and Blue…” But I didn’t. By the second half, I wanted the Wildcats to win. Why? Then everyone in Tucson would be happy. Hell, if that’s all it takes, why not?

Yesterday, we watched the Kentucky/North Carolina game. Those incredibly long shots, all those guys wanting so badly to win. But my favorite part was when Kentucky won and a young black player approached his white coach, who — as they both grinned broadly — grabbed the player in a bear hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.

I remember being a kid in the 1950s. My brother and mother were fierce Brooklyn Dodger fans. All the hoopla then was about Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in major league baseball.

If you’re unfamiliar with that highlight of Civil Rigths history, check out “Teammates” by Peter Golenbock, a children’s picture book that so perfectly tells the story of Robinson and Pee Wee Reese’s friendship. Reese, who was white, took a courageous stand and refused to stay in hotels where his teammate wasn’t welcome.

Who says nothing has changed in these United States of America?

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