At U.Va., the only religion (or cult?) is basketball


Humor columnist Pasha McGuigan describes the religious-like following of the basketball team.

Sophie Roehse | Cavalier Daily

Now, dear reader, before you get your panties in a twist, hear me out on this one. There’s some pretty strong evidence that U.Va. basketball is in fact the guiding force in all of our lives. 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, religion is defined as “the service and worship of God and the supernatural” or “commitment or devotion to religious faith and observance.” I don’t know about you, but I think our basketball team is among the supernatural. I could put some stats in here to prove that, but honestly, I know extremely little about basketball. But that actually strengthens my point. Our team is so good that they’re mythical. Even someone like me knows how good they are. 

Also, have you seen how U.Va.students act around them? People literally worship the ground they walk on. Jesus Christ himself could literally come down to the earth again and you still wouldn’t see — or hear — U.Va. girls react the with the same vigor and awe. 

And talk about devotion. For the past month, all anyone has talked or thought about is basketball. Even people who HATE sports of any kind made brackets with U.Va. at the center. It’s the exact same thing as when people, who never go to church, go on Easter and Christmas — we show up when it matters. 

Likewise, people are driving all the way to Minneapolis to watch the game. That’s a 17 hour drive. One way. For a game we might not even win. That’s a prime example of a pilgrimage for something that is believed in but not guaranteed. 

Also, the Cavaliers get people to do things they hate because they know it’s good for them. In other religions, this is seen through fasting or confession or other difficult things that make your soul atone for its sins. But U.Va. Basketball makes us do something much harder — wear orange and blue together. In public. I mean, God, isn’t that just the worst color combination ever? Who chose that? Why? But during March Madness, suddenly I, and everyone, wear school colors with pride. They look ravishing. One might even say … heavenly.

Finally, a big part of religion is community. What unites U.Va. the most? It isn’t a love for Bodo’s and Roots or a hatred of Tech. It’s our basketball team. Last weekend, after they won the game, everyone was unified for a single moment. Frat boys to professors to Charlottesville police officers were all singing The Good Ol’ Song and linking arms with each other. No other force is as powerful and boundary crossing as U.Va. basketball. 

Maybe the answer to all the problems in the world isn’t a society that privileges human rights and equality for all, but one built around mutual worship of and devotion to the Cavaliers. 

Pasha McGuigan is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at

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