The Final Four takes place this weekend. As you can tell from the last month of posts here, it's a fun time in our house. Tobin has been more involved in this tournament experience than ever before. The big story from the first weekend of the tournament was his early birthday present from Grandpa and Mimi, a trip to watch his beloved Tar Heels play their first round game in Greensboro. I was also the beneficiary of the trip, because I took a half day at work and drove us down. We ate lunch in the car after being sure to pack the necessities: UNC gear and Tobin's bracket:
On the way down, Tobin was even chattier than usual. He is a master conversationalist on an average day. But his
stream-of-consciousness observations and rapid-fire exposition that
Friday were remarkable even by his high standards. I asked if he would help me watch for signs to reach the Greensboro Coliseum. He responded "I'll even help you look out for curves--there's a curve right there!" We saw a semi truck pulled over by a few highway patrol cars. T opined "They may have stopped it because it had a bomb in it. If there was a bomb in it and it went off, the driver might get hurt. So the police stopped the truck to make sure the driver wouldn't get hurt. Or maybe its doors just opened on the highway. Or it could have had an accident."
His energy was high enough that he even spent a chunk of time talking about the latches on his Star Wars lunch box: "It's great because if I need it to be open, I can open it. But when I close it, it stays closed so I can carry it and nothing falls on the floor. 'Cause I wouldn't eat food from the floor of the car."
As we got off the interstate, I asked Tobin for his predictions for the day's games. He suggested Alabama would beat Creighton "Because I have them on my bracket. And they're Uncle Donnie's favorite team." He was positive Carolina would beat Vermont, so I asked what the score would be. He said "I think UNC will win by about 19."
Tobin was awed by the crowd of Carolina blue in the lobby at the Coliseum. We found our seats to watch the shootaround for the Alabama game. He was a little concerned at the light turnout for the beginning of the game until I explained that most of the people who were coming would come later for Carolina. The game was good, and went down to the final shot. As you can see, Tobin was a little disappointed in the result:
After brief disappointment with Alabama's loss, Tobin got to see his favorite team play for the first time. He was thrilled, and cheered as loudly as anyone in our section. By the end of the game, he was on a first-name basis with most of the players, shouting things like "Come on, Harrison! Nice block, Tyler! Behind you, Kendall!" As excited as he was, whenever he sat down, he had his bracket in his lap, updating it during the day as we heard scores from all over the country.
We enjoyed hot dogs and popcorn and pretzels during the game, and yelled ourselves hoarse cheering the Heels on to an easy victory. As we filed out of the coliseum, we walked back through the lobby where Duke and Lehigh fans were waiting to get in. Tobin thought it was hilarious that UNC fans chanted "Let's go Lehigh!" as we left. His thoughts on the possible upset? "I don't think Lehigh can beat Duke, because they're a 15, and 15s really don't beat 2s."
We ended our special trip with a milkshake on the way out of town and discussion of UNC's chances going forward. There are more pictures of our trip here. Allison said we were both beaming when we got home that afternoon. I don't doubt that was true.