Alright, Dad, preach well, but preach quick so we get home in time for tip-off!
I hated it when the ACC moved its Tournament final to Sunday afternoon from Saturday night in 1982, but my voice was not listened to. Happy to report we got home in time to watch N.C. State battle Ralph Sampson and Virginia for the ACC Tournament title.
Virginia was desperate because they had yet to win an ACC Championship with the big man and he was a senior. N.C. State was more desperate because a loss would end their season. Virginia would make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team with a much better regular season record.
Back and forth we went....the nail biting was excruciating. But when it was all said and done, I can still remember Thurl Bailey filling my black and white TV screen with a huge smile, as the Wolfpack celebrated on the floor of the old Omni in Atlanta, with an 81-78 win over the Cavaliers!!
One of my all-time favorite teachers, Mrs. Sharon Adams, called my house long distance from Richmond to congratulate me on my team's accomplishment. I'll never forget that. :)
Later on, they announced the 52-team field for the NCAA Tournament. CBS was only in its second year covering the tourney, and the year before had premiered a 30-minute program late on Sunday afternoon to announce the tournament field. Back then, they had no cameras at college sites to "get the reaction of a team" when they see if/where they will begin their March Madness journey. Heck, the term March Madness had just started to catch on (Musburger should have copyrighted that immediately....). It was Brent and Billy Packer in a studio talking about the upcoming event, maybe a coach or two interviewed.
I went to church and later found out State was going to the West Region as the #6 seed and would play Pepperdine in the first round on Friday night. Late Friday night.
Until then, I savored the Tournament championship, headed to bed to ready myself for another week of school and play practice, patiently awaiting Friday night. Late Friday night.
I hadn't been this happy about a sporting event since my Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XV on January 25, 1981.....I had no idea what was about to unfold over the next three weekends.