Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Killing an old grudge. Slowly.

Sometimes, I'm not nearly as evolved of a human being as I aspire to be. Or need to be.

I realized that again this morning as I drove to work, listening to ESPN Radio. Mike & Mike were yammering about an auction to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. To be sure, the charity is a noble and successful one - raising more than $70 million over 14 years in honor of former N.C. State hoops coach Jimmy Valvano who died of cancer in 1993.

But I can't shake a couple of less-than-noble grudges, which mostly stem from him leading the Wolfpack to the 1983 national championship over my beloved University of Houston. It was my first childhood flirtation with a championship for one of my favorite teams, and when the Coogs were denied at the buzzer, I was crestfallen. The sting sticks with me to this day - especially when CBS runs those post-tournament retrospectives showing Jimmy V running all over the court like some sort of lunatic.

Later, my mother bought a book for me - Personal Fouls by Peter Golenbock. The book raised all sorts of concerns about rules violations and general recklessness, since at least a couple of the players in the book (particularly Lorenzo Charles and Charles Shackelford) were portrayed as dumber than even the stereotypical dumb jock. In short, the book ruined his career and eventually led to his ouster.

And as if that wasn't enough, 15 years later I was still sort of snorting about the thought of contributing some money to a worthwhile charity in his name. What a punk kid I am, eh?

But I'm trying to get over this ridiculous grudge: I pledged $5 to the charity later in the afternoon.
So I'm a little closer to evolved than I was this morning, I suppose. Rest in peace, Jimmy V (though you were still lucky in '83).

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