Two words. NCAA Championship. Some people dream about the day their school makes it to the NCAA Championship. Some, like me, are lucky enough to go while still in school. The excitement you have when your team makes it to the Final Four, especially after a year like our team had with scandals, accusations and tough losses, is unreal. Instead of letting the negativity affect how the boys played, they used it to push themselves leaving their hearts on the court during every game. It was no wonder they ended up making it to Houston.
To some, that might not be a big deal. But to Tar Heel fans, it’s everything. In a state that’s ruled by the biggest rivalry in the southeast, maybe even the country, basketball is more than just a sport. It’s a way of life.
So, after the men’s basketball team beat Duke in the regular season and a handful of other teams in the tournament, our boys ended up making it to the Final Four in Houston. To say I was excited for my school and basketball team is an understatement. I was going to witness history in the making!
As I started to make viewing plans one day, I overheard my roommates talking about booking flights to Houston. My initial thought was there was no way I could make that happen — I had just gotten back from a spring break road trip (aka I was broke) and I was super swamped with school work. But who could pass up this opportunity? UNC was selling student tickets for only $40 and Texas wasn’t that far away. While a flight wasn’t particularly in my budget, another road trip (you’ll quickly learn that I love road trips) was.
I was hesitant at first, but honestly, when was I ever going to get the chance to go to Houston as a student for less than $100 and watch my basketball team play in the NCAA Championship game? After a couple hours of quick planning, I purchased my ticket and secured a spot in a car with three other friends. We were going to Houston.
Come Thursday night, our car was packed with duffel bags, homework and four hype college students as we set out on a 17-hour long drive to Texas. We didn’t want to stop overnight and slow down our progress, so thanks to a couple of Red Bulls, gas station coffee and fast food, the four of us took turns driving until we made it to the Lone Star State the next night.
The following days were a dream. I got to see performances from A-list singers (think, Jason Derulo, Maroon 5, Twenty-One Pilots and Kendrick Lamar), explore downtown Houston, endure a rollercoaster of emotions as I watched the Tar Heels make it to the Championship game, watch Marcus Paige make a legendary shot only to be defeated in the last four seconds by Villanova, and share these memories with friends I had just met and those I had known for the last three years. On the ride home, although I was heartbroken over the loss, I was in complete awe at what my life had consisted of for the past 96 hours.
This was life to the full. This was life void of all inhibitions and full of adventure. Jesus offers this life of spontaneity, wonder and exploration — all while beckoning us to do it with Him. He wants all of this for us, and not just during our crazy adventures, but throughout all our days.
I think some people think that as Christians, we’re just supposed to fill up the Sunday pews and go on with our lives, but most people forget that He calls us to live out the Gospel and have a meaningful life — a life where each day is an adventure following Him. How will He use us? How does he want us to serve Him? Where is He calling us to? Our life stays fresh and exciting because of that! How cool is it that the God of the universe calls us to live a life of adventure and unexpectedness with Him? I’d go as far to say that it’s way cooler than road trips and way cooler than college basketball.