This has been a pretty exciting year of athletics for everyone in Charlottesville, or anyone who has ever been connected to UVa. There were moments in the middle of the numbingly long winter where the only thing cheering our hearts and warming our blood was the basketball team that went on to win the ACC Championship and make waves in the NCAA tournament for the first time in far, far too long.
Now, here we are, just a few months later, staying up nights to watch the baseball team win their way to the College World Series finals. Yes, it’s a great year to be a Wahoo (though, isn’t is always?) and while I’ve lost hours of sleep ( and years off my life) anxiously staying up to watch the extra innings, I couldn’t be more aware of how proud I am to be a Wahoo.
More than winning, the real value of the excitement comes from how it brings us together; it reminds us of our first adult roots and the collective identity that drove our passion in our early twenties. At this point in life the only thing that is ironically predictable are change and insecurity. Relationships, jobs, cities – they are constantly changing – and suddenly it becomes apparent that the most stable years of our adult lives may truly have been the four-ish years we spent as undergrads, bleeding orange and blue and enjoying the steady bubble within Mr. Jefferson’s university. Game day brings back our security, it reminds us we are a part of something bigger than just ourselves and this single moment in our own lives. It reinforces that we are a part of this family that continues to grow; a growing legacy of hearts beating for the same thing — and you know what? It feels damn good.
I have zero idea how tonight’s game is going to turn out, or if we’ll become the National Champions or not, because on some level it [almost] doesn’t matter. These teams have already inspired us to dig down, remember where we came from, and hopefully feel a little more inspired tomorrow as we plug away wherever we are in our lives and the world.
That was a little bit of a soap box moment, but that’s just where I am. I am inspired; I’m reminded of everything I love (and loved) about Virginia, what I poured my heart into while I was in school, and what I wanted to accomplish with my life and that passion when I walked down the lawn and carried myself into my future. Which all begs the question of the moment – when this passion is remembered and the energy is raw, what’s the plan? I’ve leveraged that strong foundation to get to this place, to get to right now…. so what’s next? Maybe everything.