Dreaming in Detroit

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I am at the Final Four. I am at the Final Four. I am at the Final Four.

No matter how many times I say that it does not seem to sink in.  I have pinched myself several times but I am still here.

Even as I watched Michigan State and North Carolina punch their tickets to the finals last night, it was still so surreal.

Not only have I waited for this moment for 22 years, but, until three weeks ago, I never even imagined this would be a possibility.

In order to fully explain how I am here, let me go back to freshman year.

I was sitting in my dorm when I received an e-mail from my dad laying out this whole story about how he had received Final Four tickets from a friend and how I had a flight booked.

I began packing my bags for Indianapolis.

The next e-mail I get is also from my dad and in big bold letters says APRIL FOOLS.

I never even realized it was April 1.

Needless to say I was heartbroken. I may have even cried a little. I most definitely did not speak to my father for a while.

Skip ahead three years and here I am in Detroit. At the Final Four. Thanks to my father — and mother.

For the last year they have worked on getting tickets, setting up hotels and getting me home for this weekend.

The signs were there repeatedly, but I had turned off my Final Four radar.  After the freshman disaster, I told myself it was not to be.

I had accepted that I would never go to the sporting event that I had always wanted to see above all others.

That was until my parents came through with the best graduation gift ever.

After the first night of basketball I have been asked repeatedly, how does it feel?

I cannot answer that question.

The teams, the bands, the 72,000-plus fans, the atmosphere — the Final Four is just overwhelming and exhausting.

After six hours of games last night, my dad and I were beat.

But it is also everything that I could have ever imagined.

The spectacle, the players, the stadium and the whole experience are larger than life.

This is better than I could have ever imagined and as hard as it is to believe Monday night’s championship game is going to top it all.

This is a dream that no amount of pinching can wake me up from.