Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Road to a National Championship

I picked one heck of a year to decide to go all out rooting for the UCONN Huskies. Here's a review of my road to a championship (When your team wins it all, calling it a Road to the Final Four seems so limited).

Round 1: UCONN vs. Bucknell
My location: Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. My brother Brett and I went to the game. Curiously enough, the earlier set of games at the venue featured UCONN's ultimate championship game opponent, Butler, so our "venue" t-shirts purchased in D.C. include the logos of both championship contenders.
Result: UCONN wins 81-52.

Round 2: UCONN vs. Cincinnati
My location: MJ Sports Bar at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. After an afternoon within miles of where I grew up, I gathered with good friend Jen Mehigan and a few dozen or so other UCONN fans to watch a victory. On the road to Uncasville, my car crossed the 100K threshold.
Result: UCONN wins 69-58

Sweet Sixteen: UCONN vs. San Diego State University
My location: Kinsale Pub, Boston. The Thursday night game found me back in Boston. For some reason, this game worried me the least of the six.
Result: UCONN wins 74-67

Elite Eight: UCONN vs. Arizona
My location: My apartment in Boston. Why did Derrick Williams not try to drive and take a two on Arizona's last possession? It's a question that will haunt Arizona fans for decades.
Result: UCONN wins 65-63

Final Four: UCONN vs. Kentucky
My location: My brother Mark's house in Moosup, Conn. On one of the final days before his own move to a new condo in Norwich, I stopped by Mark's house, a mere 25 miles or so from the UCONN campus in Storrs. It worked out, as I was at my high school earlier in the night to attend a charity auction organized by my mother. Mark was right: It's much better to listen to sports radio for two hours (during my ride home) when your team wins. Random fun fact: It was the first time a team with a dog mascot played a team with a cat mascot in the Final Four.
Result: UCONN wins 56-55.

National Championship: UCONN vs. Butler
My location: The Hill Tavern, Boston. When UCONN won in 1999, I was at my apartment in Medford, Mass. In 2004, I was at my apartment on Beacon Hill when the huskies won their second championship. This year, I walked three blocks down the hill to my local watering hole. And it was there that UCONN settled the madness.
Result: UCONN wins 53-41.

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