The flight less traveled took me to Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.
Now while that may seem like a spring break flyover state on your way to Florida or Myrtle Beach, March in the home of the Virginia Cavaliers is nothing to be passed over.
That’s what winning the Final Four can do for a college town. You remember a year ago, in the finale of the precious bracket that meant so much to you (although you were probably busted before the round of 32 last year) when teams like Texas Tech, Auburn and Virginia played for the national title in a football stadium.
Virginia played classic after classic, caught every break that makes March wonderfully mad and just one-year removed from the embarrassment of being the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 (UMBC) they cut down the nets in Minneapolis.
Now? Life is different in Charlottesville. Members of UVA’s first National Championship team are all deities and their coach Tony Bennett is a god. Honestly, if Bennett said he was going to drop kick a basketball over the Blue Ridge Mountains from Monticello, there would be 48,019 “Wahoos” (as of the 2017 Census) there to Snapchat it.
Stores are packed with championship merch like they’ve already won this year’s title, (even though at press time they are unranked).
After beating Duke on Saturday, the residents are feeling like their “Hoos” (don’t ask, just Google why the Virginia Cavaliers are refereed to as the Wahoos or Hoos for short) are going to make a run this month.
This and everything aforementioned is what I miss most about having a contender for a National Championship in our local sports landscape. “Something to rally around” or “a reason to celebrate” would just be so damn fun this time of year. But it's been 20 years and counting since we hung a banner in Orono.
Maybe someday we'll have something to "wahoo" about.