Time Machine: A 1997 NCAA basketball tournament upset

The NCAA basketball season is over, and the end of the Villanova game was spectacular. But games are always better when you have a rooting interest.

So I thought back to the first time I went to an NCAA tournament game ,because it was a family affair;

My nephew was one of the players on the 15-seed Coppin State Eagles when they beat the 2-seed South Carolina Gamecocks in 1997. I remember being in the stands and rooting my head off.

But this is the first time I’ve actually seen the game. A videotape has been floating around the family for almost 20 years, but I just never got the chance to watch it. So today, I go to YouTube, and there it is.

You know, when you’re at the arena, you witness what’s going on, but it’s all hazy, because, when you’re really into it, you’re yelling and jumping up and down, and screaming at the refs and are basically caught up in the insanity of it all.

Like I remember that Coppin State was such a small school, it didn’t have its own band, so it borrowed the band from Morgan State, on the other side of Baltimore. I remember the cheerleaders didn’t have the elaborate routines that South Carolina had. And I remember being with family: my 6-year-old son, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

But actually watching the televised game, and hearing the commentators say my nephew’s game, and looking at the crowd shots where I see me and my family going nuts in the crowd almost two decades ago makes me think of broadcasts and movies as little time machines where you can go back into the past and relive some of the greatest moments in your life.

Today, my son is all grown and as tall as the players you see on the court, but he was so tiny then. Some of my family members are no longer with us, but I can see them, right there in Pittsburgh so full of life. And strangely, I don’t believe it, but I look the same as I do now.

What’s that all about?

Becky Hammon and the Liberty Ring of Honor

When the WNBA began, I had season tickets at Madison Square Garden for the New York Liberty. And what I remember most about that team was the tiny blonde rookie guard who’d come off the bench and sink 3s from NBA distance.

And this week, the Liberty added that little guard, Becky Hammon, to its Ring of Honor:

Every Liberty fan from those days loved Becky. The franchise player was the center, Rebecca Lobo, who was on all of the billboards and in all of the WNBA promotion when the league started. But Becky was the player everyone rooted for. Here’s forward Sue Wicks talking about Becky’s early career:

And how good was she? Here you go:

But the future looks extremely interesting:

So the kid with bangs might be a head coach in the NBA? Had no idea that was going to happen.

 

My favorite tweet from the NCAA tournament

It was total destruction. It was like watching the original “Robocop” movie and realizing you didn’t want to say “Shoot him again” at the end. (Don’t watch this if you have a delicate stomach.)