Last Sunday was momentous. A person I love was introduced to a thing I love, and I was lucky enough to watch the interaction.
Thanks to great tickets and a parking pass from a kind neighbor, Katie and I took Jackie to her first live sporting event — UNC vs. Nevada at the Smith Center.
I grew up with Carolina basketball, and I can’t help but think that Jackie will also find comfort and inspiration from the same source. Maybe it’s a player who scored pointing to a teammate to credit him for the assist after a fast break conversion. Maybe it’s blood, shed in sacrifice to victory, splattered on the floor of H.I.S. (Hansbrough Indoor Stadium, in Durham). Or, maybe it’s the way Woody pronounces pistachio (pi-stash-see-oh).
On Sunday, we got to our seats about 15 minutes before tip-off. Jackie’s jaw dropped as soon as we started descending the steps in our section. The lights, the other fans, the band, and the sheer size of the building kept her mouth agape until about the 15:00 mark of the first half. After the initial shock waned, she seemed to be paying attention to the action on the floor. Katie put her in her very own seat early in the second half. Cracker in hand, Jackie’s behavior could have passed for any adult spectator in the arena, snacking and watching Larry Drew II dish out assists to Ed Davis. She was taking in the game (which was a little closer than I expected) like any other fan.
It was truly one of the best experiences during my short time as a father. On that night, happiness was sitting with my wife and daughter as Ol’ Roy got his 600th win.