The entirety of my sports fandom is steeped in one tried and true tradition — my favorite teams don’t win championships.
Whether it’s the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Redskins or the Detroit Pistons, my teams simply don’t win titles. The Orioles’ last title came in 1983, the Redskins in 1991 and the Pistons in 2004, before I began rooting for the big red and blue.
It’s the same issue with Virginia Tech. The Hokies have never won a team national championship, and the one time they came close I had yet to start grade school.
The Virginia Tech women’s basketball program carries a unique burden as they advance through the NCAA Tournament. They have the chance to lift the blanket of misery that I, and many others, have repeatedly found in the sports realm.
Let’s be honest with ourselves — Virginia Tech is a long way from the Final Four, let alone a championship game. Four-seed Tennessee might be the worst team remaining on the Hokies’ way to Dallas, and a trip to the Lone Star State won’t be any easier. All this is why I’m trying not to get out over my skis, but it’s becoming harder and harder to not get my hopes up.
I’ve been here before. Matt Ryan broke my heart in 2007. Five years later, Robert Griffin III’s knee seeped into the primordial ooze that is the FedExField playing surface. My Orioles ran into a Kansas City buzzsaw in 2014, which was the best Baltimore had played in my lifetime. My sports teams have come close before, only to fall short.
Virginia Tech women’s basketball might come closer than all of these teams. The one-seed Hokies are as good as anyone left in the bracket that doesn’t play in Columbia, S.C. Virginia Tech boasts the ACC Player of the Year and Second Team All-American Liz Kitley, as well as stud point guard Georgia Amoore and a lineup full of gritty veterans. Kenny Brooks is a Coach of the Year Finalist. What’s not to be excited about?
In just a few short days, Virginia Tech will resume their journey towards a team national championship. They’ve already trekked as far as any team in program history, matching the Sweet 16 team from 1999. This version of the Hokies has already become the best and most accomplished team in school history, and there’s plenty of room to go.
With all this positivity and excitement, I’m finding it more and more difficult to retain my natural pessimism. All the scars from the past don’t hurt as much as they did before. And for it to be the program that kicked off my career in media and journalism, it makes it that much sweeter.
Is it too early to get one’s hopes up? I say no. Dream away Hokies, because it may never be this good again. Enjoy the moment, for this time greatness may take the place of misery and despair.