This Friday afternoon, my roommate and I paced up and down our apartment for over a half an hour as we watched Illinois essentially manhandle the Michigan basketball squad for 30 minutes. I threw my hat at the wall about a half-dozen times. I shouted obscenities that might keep me out of heaven. I put whatever tobacco I could find around the apartment into my mouth in a futile attempt to calm my nerves. I thought about punching my door, which already has three holes in it from football season (literally). I sat watching the game, wondering if this team, a team that had worked so hard to rejuvenate itself, could honestly end up missing the tournament. I wondered how such a hard-working team could end up doing all that work for naught. I wondered if I had, once again, invested so much heart into yet another lost cause.
And then the comeback.
After the clock struck zero and Michigan had won, securing their bid to the NCAA tournament, I immediately thought, 'justice'. I thought justice had finally been delivered after Michigan lost in the Big Ten Tournament on a buzzer-beater last year. I screamed out the window overlooking Chicago's skyline for what seemed to be more than a minute, letting out at least a couple years worth of frustration.
When the calm finally set in, my roommate and I both instinctively went to the fridge and grabbed a celebratory beer.
Silence ensued. No words needed to be said. We both held our beers up and clanged them together in a cheers, smiles on our faces. That moment, drinking that first sip of a celebratory beverage with your buddy you've spent all season going through the ups and down with: that is why you watch the game.