I have to admit I'm one of those people who, before a few weeks ago, had never followed the basketball programs of VCU or Richmond. I had never heard of Shaka Smart or Chris Mooney, Joey Rodriguez or Justin Harper.
I don't even like basketball.
I don't understand which player is responsible for what and I don't get why sometimes they get free throws for fouls and sometimes not. Plus, the squeaky sneakers really annoy me. If I could listen to a game on mute I might watch more, but I still wouldn't understand because I wouldn't be able to hear the announcers! Catch-22.
It's been hard not to get caught up in the Cinderella story - from the first game, where VCU fought to prove all the critics wrong (how's that crow taste, @DickieV?) and earn their spot in the tournament; to both teams making it to the Sweet 16 - a first for VCU and a second trip for Richmond; to this weekend, where VCU is in the Final Four! I was rooting for Richmond (my future alma mater) until they were upset by Kansas last Friday, but I picked myself up quickly because VCU played Florida State immediately after that game and won - though that game was very close for the full 40 playing minutes...so I guess you could say I'm a bandwagoner, though I won't be damaging cars and shouting in the streets after any of these games. I'll be safe in my house in my jammies.
The town has gone crazy! Bars and restaurants who probably knew as much as me about VCU last month are buying new big-screen TV's to attract customers who want to watch the game and offering discounts for wearing VCU gear - sure, they're doing it to make more money than a typical Saturday night, but it still shows support for their home team! Other places are offering sales, like 16% off or free 16 oz. drinks during the Sweet 16 round, and this weekend several bars and restaurants downtown have Final Four specials and events.
Over the last few days, I've noticed that all the car dealerships have rows of black cars out front, where they usually show off their latest and greatest models. I thought it was odd, until I read an article about Ford's decision to suspend the use of tuxedo black paint, made in Japan. I'm not sure if the other dealers are showing off their black cars as a statement to Ford, or if they're using them for support of the Rams.
On my way to Lowe's this afternoon to pick up supplies for this weekend's project, I got the answer to my question, at least for Brown's VW on Midlothian, who dressed up all the black cars with black and yellow balloons! How festive!
The dealership next door answered that with this:
Don't even get me started on the Fan - there are signs and streamers and black and gold wreaths all over the place! It's awesome how the town has come together on this and everybody's being so supportive - in the midst of all the negative things in the world, things are pretty good in this little basketball bubble we have going on. Just my opinion. Strangers are high-fiving, and that just doesn't happen every day.
My last bit of black and gold for today: A VCU-themed cupcake from Frostings :)
It's my hope that my town will find many more opportunities to band together and high-five each other, and while I know this is just a fleeting glimpse, I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
I'll always bleed purple, but until Monday, I feel a little black and gold running through my veins too :)
...and to Shaka and his Rams: Good Luck - we're all counting on you! :)