Final Four

I’m usually in something of a hurry when it’s quiting time and Friday was no exception. But as I was rushing out the door I ran into my boss. He’s new where I work and we haven’t had time to get to know each other yet so I stopped to chat. I intended to say a quick “hello,” exchange some pleasantries and be on my way (with traffic in Washington, DC such a nightmare, I wanted to get a jump on it). But he brought up the NCAA basketball tournament and West Virginia University’s appearance in the Final Four this weekend.

I should acknowledge that I graduated from the “other” school in West Virginia, Marshall University. You might point out that there are many “other” schools in the state and you’d be right. But MU is the only one large enough to rival WVU.
Much has been made of this supposed rivalry, but I don’t think very many West Virginians really care, especially right now. Yes, I’ve taken some good natured lumps from WVU people over the years and have dished it out, too. But even that seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Many of my Marshall friends responded to a completely informal and unscientific poll I took on Facebook last night.
The overwhelming answer when I looked this morning? “Let’s GOOOOOO Mountaineers!”
One said her heart will always be green (green and white are Marshall’s colors) but she’ll be bleeding blue and gold tonight. Another says she’s preparing for a couch burning.
I’m not much of a sports fan, but I haven’t been this excited in a long time. There are WVU reminders all over the place. Flags are flying outside too many homes to count and everybody is wearing the blue and gold and wearing flying WV caps. One grad of Shepherd University (another “other” school) I know has bought her first WVU t-shirt and says she’s looking forward to wearing it for tonight’s game.
So when my new boss brought up the tournament and began talking about how the only team left in his bracket is Duke, my chest, which is normally down around my waist these days, swelled up to where it’s supposed to be  and we started talking about just how good WVU’s team is this season.
When I finally got in the car for my long commute home from Washington, DC to Martinsburg, I couldn’t get John Denver’s “Country Roads” out of my head (not that I ever want to).
In my book, pride in where I’m from trumps school loyalty every time.
I’m planning to attend my first couch burning very soon. I might even add one of my own.

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