Friday, April 01, 2005

20 Years Ago Today

It's amazing what the brain is capable when you haven't yet polluted it with Lake Superior sized amounts of alcohol.

I watched Perfect Upset: The 1985 Villanova vs. Georgetown NCAA Championship this evening. I give it my highest recommendation. It covers the story from all angles and does a pretty good job of bringing in the big issues, while not losing track of the game itself. Some amazing footage is in here, with high school clips of Ewing a major highlight as well as all the highlights of rough Big East play. There was one amazing clip of Ewing taking NBA steps and slamming down a nasty dunk, only to have the ref actually call him for traveling. The bit about McLain high at the White House is pretty crazy. The whole show was extremely interesting and gasp good sports reporting.

But I have to take you back...

My Father is a Nova grad. My own sports enthusiasm comes straight from his excitement about the Villanova basketball program. And in 1984, we moved down to Georgia from up north. I was a loudmouth knowitall 7 year old. And I remember what Ed Pinckney looked like. I remember Gary McLain's brashness. I remember Harold Pressley (and I thought Scottie Pippen was Harold Pressley for like 3 years). I remember this run. I remember that they beat Len Bias and Maryland. When the brackets came out this year, I mentioned to my Dad (who didn't remember) that the road goes through Carolina, like '85. I remember going to bed the night of the Championship, after staying up as late as I could (I think I made halftime). The next morning, my Mom had set out a Villanova sweatshirt by my closet (which had the stairway up to the attic). I knew all along that Villanova had no chance, so I assumed she had set it there to put it away before my Dad would see it. I walked down to breakfast wearing something else. My Mom, for I believe the first and only time, marched me back upstairs to put that shirt on. A second grader in a Georgia elementary school, wearing a shirt of a school nobody down here had ever heard of. I remember this minute by minute.

And that's one of the reasons why so much of this blog is about sports. The way my brain works is totally chronological, and my internal timeline is marked by sporting events. I know exactly how tired I was for the entire month of October, 1991. I know I was a miserable slob at my friend's wedding shower the night after referees stole the 1999 Georgia-Georgia Tech game. I remember watching the '86 World Cup in Mexico, with my Dad trying to teach me how to play soccer (which at my age group was little more than 20 kids scrumming for the ball) and really just teaching me how to watch soccer. Sports are, at the end of the day, not the most important thing. But I remember them better. A friend once talked about how he had a great golf memory - he would be able to pinpoint each shot and each hole in a round - and how he wished he could remember everything else that way. That's what I think about all sports. It locks itself into my brain and just sticks there. And it'll be that way forever.