Up until now, I could tell people I’d never won a single contest, door prize or raffle of any sort. As of today, I can no longer say that.
In mid-December, the Syracuse Media Group, which operates
Syracuse.com and publishes the Post-Standard, announced the “Go See UNC” Essay Contest. All anyone had to do to enter was write a short
essay – 100 to 150 words – on why they should win tickets for one of the premiere games of the
season, kicking off the rivalry between ACC royalty North Carolina and ex-Big East stalwart, now-ACC
I happened to be reading the sports scores on Syracuse.com
when the contest was announced, and promptly wrote an essay. It took me all of ten minutes.
The subject of the essay was easy to devise, because it was
the truth. My wife went to UNC for
undergrad. And ever since Syracuse’s
move to the ACC was announced, we’d talked about trying to get tickets to this
year’s first-ever Carolina v. Syracuse ACC rivalry game. With four kids and a finite income, we
determined at some point in the Fall that we just couldn’t make it happen.
Then, along came the
contest, and this is what I wrote:
Ours is a story of
love and basketball. My wife and I met on the concourse of Syracuse
University’s Newhouse School in 1997, both there to attend graduate school.
That she went to UNC Chapel Hill for undergraduate was the first thing out of
her mouth. A Tar Heel to the core. Our first disagreement was whether the Big
East or ACC reigned supreme in college basketball. We married four years later,
and in the decade since have had four kids. In that time, she’s become as much
a Syracuse fan as a Carolina one. And I, too, have learned to root for UNC,
when they’re not playing Syracuse. We’ve raised our kids to bleed Orange -- and
Carolina Blue. Now, since the ACC vs. Big East debate was finally decided in
her favor, I figure the least I could do is take her to the game.
Kind of like publishing a blog that nobody "likes" or comments on, I didn't hear a thing back for the longest time. I figured somebody else outdid me in the essay department.
Then, this week I got an e-mail saying I was a finalist. Another email came later saying
I had won. When I told my wife, she
began hooting and hollering and jumping up and down. Apparently, she’d
never won anything before either, and really wanted to go to this game.
Of course, there’s only one problem.
Shortly after we found out we won, I learned that part of my essay might not be entirely accurate: The part where I say she’s
become as much an Orange fan as a Carolina one. The evidence I have for this is that every time she so much as thinks of the game she
chants at the top of her lungs: “UUUUU!….NNNNN!….CCCCC!....Go Heels, Go!”
It seems she still harbors more love for the Tar Heels than
she’s developed for the Orange over our time here in Central New York. So, on Saturday, at a game for the ages that we never thought
we’d get to go see, we will be rooting for different teams.
But, we do agree on this: We both hate Duke.