Once upon a time in Burlington

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was a basketball team from the woods of Vermont. Practicing in a cozy, old, yellow-walled gym they started their journey together as a multinational group of round-ball misfits. The road they traveled was long, bumpy and twisted. At times the road was cold and cruel, other times it was pleasing and exhilarating. This was undoubtedly Vermont’s team, proudly wearing the letters V-E-R-M-O-N-T across their chests, a badge of honor constantly reminding others of where they came from. Starting out slowly, they charted their course toward an unknown but bright future, one basket at a time. And as time passed, they made more and more baskets, and when the road got difficult and the going got tougher, they got going.This little team that could continued to do one remarkable thing after another. As people started to take notice, they kept playing. As they kept playing, more people took notice. Five years, and a number of broken-handed baskets later, they became more famous than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. They received attention that may have done justice to some of their wildest dreams. In return for adoration, this team gladly gave their fans some of the happiest, most memorable moments of their lives. With the added flair of a miraculous 30-foot jumper, this team went out and beat a national title contender in the spotlight, with the season on the line. Cinderella got her slippers, and everyone lived happily ever after. The End. I felt compelled to take that little jaunt down memory lane after witnessing the men’s hockey team’s sweep of BC, the biggest weekend of hockey at UVM in two years, and revisiting the video footage from the 2005 UVM-Syracuse NCAA tournament game (it can be found on the UVM athletics web site if you look hard enough). These are memories I will keep and cherish forever. Being there to see them firsthand (I was lucky enough to score tickets) was only the beginning of the process. These memories, like those of the hockey playoff series against Dartmouth and the basketball conference finals against Northeastern, both in 2005 (same weekend, even), are what make college sports truly great.You can debate the purpose and existence and regulations of college athletics until you’re blue in the face but when it comes down to brass tacks, the storylines and emotions running through all of these great games make them irresistibly endearing.So, after a weekend like we had two weeks ago, I am left wondering when that next great memory will come. Like the fairy tale of Brennan and Co., the odds are against any sort of prediction of these memories. They just have to be lived in order to be blissfully relived, over and over again.