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Dear Virginia Fans,

It may not have looked like it was going to happen, in fact there were multiple occasions over the last three games of the NCAA tournament where you probably though it was over. Your enemies will point out certain turning points in the games against Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech and say, “well what if…”

Don’t let anyone take this NCAA Championship away from you. 

You might feel a little dirty about exactly how your Cavaliers got to be on the top of the college basketball world. Instead, be proud of the way the team performed when the lights were brightest. Take it from a Los Angeles Rams fan, because I can tell you how it feels when your team benefits from a questionable no call to make it to the biggest stage, but performing well under those bright lights? Unfamiliar with the concept. 

It is easy for sports fans to view a game behind sunglasses with lenses tinted their teams’ colors. However, when a call is as egregiously bad as it was in the NFC Championship for the Rams or the Final Four for Virginia, it becomes tough to spin it as though your team deserves to be there. 

It would be different had these been extremely close calls. If the debate for the Virginia vs. Auburn game whether or not a foul was a block or a charge, it would not have received nearly the attention it did. Those calls are usually difficult to agree on and could go either way. 

However this was blatant. This was something a ref in my 8thgrade recreational league would have blown the whistle on. This was a player dribbling off his own foot, picking the ball up, and dribbling again. Two referees were trailing the play closely and neither one picked up on it. Had it been called, Auburn would have had the ball with a two-point lead and single digits remaining on the clock, all but sealing the game.

Compare that to this year’s NFC Championship Game when Nickell Roby-Coleman ran through Tommylee Lewis on the near sideline, I yelled something I will not type, buried my face in my hands and said, “that’s pass interference.” It wasn’t until my parents starting shaking me exclaiming, “well they didn’t throw a flag,” that I looked up. 

Is this a joke? Is the ref blind? Ok, the refs are having a little conference about it, surely the flag gets thrown after this. No? Are they allblind? 

I thought I was seeing things. It was such a horrendously bad lapse in judgement by the refs that I refused to allow myself to get excited, because I was convinced it was going to be taken away somehow.

Nevertheless, by Super Bowl Sunday I was completely over it. “Bad calls are a part of sports,” I would tell anyone who asked. “We could have easily been on the other side of a no call like that.”

Of course, everyone knows how this year’s Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots played out. It is easy to be bitter about your favorite team losing the Super Bowl. Now imagine how much that bitterness is compounded by convincing yourself that your favorite team deserves to play in the Super Bowl when they don’t, then being humiliated in that game. 

So enjoy this one Virginia fans, the Cavaliers were one of the best teams in the country all season. There will be no asterisk next to Virginia when listed as 2019 National Champions. Be proud of the way the team played in this tournament, especially having been on the wrong side of the history books the year prior. 

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