Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

It’s March Madness Y’all!  The BIG DANCE! And I am not referring to the Cha-Cha lessons I am now taking since we finished up with Salsa. This is heaven for all college basketball fans, and this Carolina basketball-loving girl is no exception! It’s madness because not only will there be great basketball, there will also be major upsets. Cinderella teams will make a run in the tournament. Brackets will be filled out. And busted. Bets will be made. Fans will be sporting their team’s logo-laden attire. I have enough Carolina t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters to be able to wear something different for an entire month, which I did last year when my Tar Heels WON the Championship!

Next to Christmas (and summer!) this is my favorite time of the year. There is nothing like college basketball, except maybe college football. But honestly, basketball is my sport of choice. Especially Tar Heel basketball. I have been a fan since the 5th grade when a school friend of mine wrote a poem about Charlie Scott and UNC basketball and had to read it to all the 5th grade classes. Dean Smith (did I ever tell you how I thought Dean Smith was a DEAN at UNC? I did not know his name was Dean – I know, very blonde of me!) was coaching then and recruited Charlie Scott, the first African American to play basketball for UNC. I had no idea what college basketball was, much less Carolina basketball, but I started watching and have continued since. The beginning of my love affair with UNC!

After reconnecting at one of our high school reunions (we have one every year now), that sweet 5th grade friend sent me both the Sports Illustrated magazine from 1968 with Charlie Scott on the cover and a poster signed by none other than Charlie Scott! What a dear!

Speaking of Cinderella teams, none is more remembered than the 1983 NC State team coached by the late Jim Valvano. Who has not seen the end of that game with Dereck Whittenburg shooting an air ball only to have Lorenzo Charles dunk it to win the game, followed by Valvano running all over the court celebrating in shock? (am I right, Ed Coble!?!)

“Don’t give up… don’t ever give up.”  Jim Valvano

March madness also describes our weather lately. Sunny and warm one day, flowers and trees blooming, snowing the next. Saturday was one of those nicer days and after sleeping in (late night Carolina games were killing me), I visited my younger daughter, who was working at King Family Vineyard. Went SOLO, got a glass of wine, warm bread and cheese, worked on my blog and watched all the people coming and going. It was packed! Precursor to the wedding season are the bachelorette parties. I bet I saw 10+ bachelorette groups celebrating. So fun to watch these young, beautiful brides-to-be celebrating their last days of being single with their best girlfriends, while anticipating the excitement of their wedding and marriage. And yet, I could not help but think about their future – their marriages. Especially with so many families and large groups of friends enjoying a nice Saturday with a glass of wine, taking a break from all of the basketball. Which is actually what I was doing – celebrating Carolina’s commanding win over Duke the previous night and anticipating our win over UVA later to win the ACC Championship Tournament (didn’t happen). My younger daughter invited me to her house to have dinner and watch the game Saturday night. Good game, but UVA proved why they are #1.

GAME TIME with my younger daughter! GO HEELS!

“You’re not defeated when you lose. You are only defeated when you quit.”

There are extreme highs and lows in March Madness. Lowest for me? April 4, 2016 when Villanova beat UNC on a last second shot in the final game. (Wow, I was not even SOLO then!) Highest for me? April 3, 2017 when Carolina won the Championship! (I was SOLO then!) Pure madness erupted in Chapel Hill as Franklin Street filled with fans celebrating! My son and his friends were there for the madness and will never forget it.

FRANKLIN STREET at 10:58 pm BEFORE the WIN (empty) and 11:58 pm AFTER the WIN (filled with fans)!

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan, the GOAT

March Madness hit a sweet family in a much different way this week as a young wife and mother of 2 (the daughter-in-law of my childhood friend Luanne), bravely made the decision to have her foot amputated due to cancer. Her positive attitude through the whole ordeal is beyond admirable. This is her way of conquering cancer and living life to its fullest. She plans to run a 5K by the end of this year. I have no doubt she will do so successfully. If you are interested, there is a Go Fund Me Page to help with providing a prosthetic foot for everyday use and a blade for running. Unbelievably, insurance does not cover this. She is a life coach and her message is never take anything for granted. So true.

I am constantly amazed at the perseverance and strength of people when pushed to limits they never imagined facing. Much like the Cinderella teams who come out of nowhere, with heart and drive to pull out a win no one thought possible.

“You never know how strong  you really are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Have you enjoyed the lighter evenings this past week? Even though we lost an hour of sleep last weekend, I am thrilled with the extra light. We are gaining 2-3 minutes of daylight every day. There are 11 hours and 55 minutes of light today, March 14, 2018, so enjoy every second of it, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

And let the madness begin. Enjoy the longer, and basketball-filled days. Fill out your brackets. (Mine has UNC winning it all, as always!) Watch some great college basketball. Get caught up in the excitement. Find a team and root for them. And GO HEELS!

CEILING. ROOF. CHAMPION. Enough said…except for the saying on the cup: “If you don’t love NORTH CAROLINA, Bless Your Heart!”

“The ceiling is the roof. Let’s make this happen.” Michael Jordan




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