It’s never too late for 3-pointer
I used to be entirely indifferent toward U.Va. basketball. It wasn’t personal; I’m actually indifferent about most sports. If you think about any sport too much, the whole thing seems dumb. Even when I lived in Lambeth, JPJ seemed like a real hike for something that wasn’t really worth it. Basketball seemed like a less social version of football games that you don’t get dressed up for. What’s the point?
But college is about trying new things, growing up and learning — so I am here to openly acknowledge the error of my old ways. I’ve been to nearly every game this season, only missing a couple for class or other legitimate reasons. I even went to a few hungover — that’s dedication if I’ve ever encountered it. And having sat through the Cavaliers’ rocky season start, I’m hardly a fair-weather fan.
It turns out, I might like basketball games better than football games — a shock, I know. The games are closer, they require a smaller commitment and they’re climate controlled. You still get to throw up spirit fingers on the foul shots. The band still provides killer jams, supplemented by songs blasted through JPJ’s loud speakers. You don’t get to sing the “Good Ol’ Song” as much, but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.
And then there’s halftime. Two words: Red Panda. Red Panda is arguably the greatest act I’ve ever seen. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, YouTube it immediately.
Such skill, such focus. Cav Man couldn’t even successfully throw the dishes to her, but she could kick them to her head one by one into a neat stack while riding a unicycle and wearing heels. I can’t even walk in heels.
I’ll admit, at first, it was awkward. I didn’t know the cheers and can’t clap in rhythm to save my life. What do you do with your hands while watching the game? Some boys put them in their pockets, but I’m a girl, in leggings. Even more problematic, I had literally no clue what was going on. I get the 3-point line thing, but that’s about it.
As a hint to all my fellow novices — look for the second scoreboard next to the main one, above the plasma screens. It shows you how many points and fouls each player on the court currently has, and it a great way to pretend you know what you’re talking about.
In the beginning, my favorite part of U.Va. basketball games was the Cane’s Challenge. Recently you haven’t had to waste your time worrying if we were going to rise to the challenge and sink four 3-pointers in a half, because our team is on fire. The counter has been just a formality; you can spend your time thinking about more important things.
Now I get to spend timeouts looking forward to the Kiss Cam, formally known as “Smile and Smooch.” At first, the Kiss Cam caused me a lot of anxiety. I always sat with my guy friends so I could bug them about what was actually happening on the court, but the potential for Kiss Cam-awkwardness was often overwhelming. Would we be those people that don’t kiss? Those people are the worst; that’s out of the question. Would I go for it and get denied? Would we meet halfway and have one person kiss on the cheek? What if we really kiss and it was surprisingly, abnormally good?
My friends and I have ultimately devised calculated plans when going to games — including a future one involving my roommate’s boyfriend that she isn’t aware of yet.
The Kiss Cam shows a disproportional number of old people, but that’s okay because nothing warms my heart like seeing two old people who still have the spark.
Basically, U.Va. basketball games are the best. Our players aren’t too bad either — especially on the eyes. If you haven’t gotten into it yet, there are still two home games — though getting Duke tickets may be out of the question at this point. For an actual rundown on how great we are check the Sports section. I’ll see you in the stands — who knows, maybe even on the Kiss Cam. Go Hoos!
Abbi’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org