NCGA Goes Carolina Blue To Praise UNC Championship
With Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, it's fair to say the General Assembly's usual preferred color is red.
But a joint session on Wednesday was all about a particular shade of blue.
Carolina Blue to be precise.
This joint session was all about celebrating the University of North Carolina's men's basketball team winning the NCAA Championship.
And speaking of the team, they too filed into the House chamber. "The 2017 NCAA men's basketball champions, the UNC Tar Heels. Go Heels!" cheered Representative John Fraley to cheers and applause.
As soon as the lawmakers settled down, a select few stood up to praise the team.
Now, North Carolina is a basketball loving state. So Representative Verla Insko, played the role of a good parent in saying, "Yes, we love every team." But, she quickly added, "You all have earned a special place in our hearts and our history books for your determination, your resilience and your endurance."
Representative Kyle Hall was, shall we say, more specific. He walked through a number of key moments in the championship run. Including a little something done by a kid from Huntersville. "Of course, we can't forget Luke Maye giving UNC a 2-point lead with just .3 seconds left to play against Kentucky." But that wasn't the end of Hall's praise for Maye. "And he showed up to class the next day at 8 o'clock in the morning." Applause ensued.
Senator Rick Gunn proudly proclaimed himself "the biggest Tar Heel fan in the General Assembly" before adding, "You're not the dream team, you're the redeem team and I am so glad to be a part of that and to be able to watch this amazing year that has taken place."
The redeem team moniker is due to the painful end of the 2016 final game which UNC lost to Villanova on a last second shot. A moment turned into poetry by Representative Greg Murphy. "'Twas the night after Houston, in all our despair, a national championship, vanished in thin air."
Murphy wasn’t done. He did a nearly verse for verse remake of Clement Clarke Moore's famous Christmas poem. Really. You can listen to it all by clicking the play button below.
Murphy even got a shot in at that other prominent basketball school that wears a slightly different shade of blue. "Hawaii, Kentucky, anywhere they would play. While the evil one lurked just eight miles away."
A little corny, sure. But when it was his turn, Coach Roy Williams stood up to say he loved it. And he bets his grandsons will, too. "Every year on Christmas Eve, I read The Night Before Christmas. I think I may read two versions this coming year."
Williams thanked lawmakers for their praise. He thanked his team for their persistence. A team he said, which was like no other. "We may have had some more gifted, more talented teams. But none that played as well on game night and none that played as well under difficult circumstances."
And before he was through Williams, ever the coach, had this bit of advice for the assembled lawmakers regardless of party. Be like the Tar Heels they were praising. "This team made sacrifices towards a common goal. You folks in here are faced with decisions every day and I hope you will think about the common goal, be disciplined and make sacrifice as well."
Not sure if ole' Roy can change 'daggum' politics. But hey, it's worth a shot.