Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jimmies Rule!

A shout out to my brother-in-law Matt, a men's basketball coach at Jamestown College.

To Rhode Islanders, ask them about "jimmies," and they'd tell you those are the sprinkles that go on cupcakes or ice cream. But to Matt and the good folks at Jamestown College, being the Jimmies means you nabbed something sweeter than a confectionary add-on.

Oh, yes, these Jimmies will dance at the NAIA Div. II national tournament next month.

In just his second year as head coach, Matt has piloted Jamestown College to a 26-5 record. The Jimmies earned an automatic berth to the national tourney by prevailing in a nail-biting, 71-70 win over Dickinson State in the conference tournament semifinals last night. They play in a few minutes for the conference championship and a higher seed at the national championships.

All I can say is wow.

The other thing I can say is I love basketball, so I have the ultimate pleasure of living vicariously through Matt. I get some insights into the game, and the coaching, that I would never get otherwise. I even got to write up a scouting report! As many of you all know, I am a Duke basketball fan, a loyal rooter for my alma mater. But I must say I enjoy just as much, if not more, cheering for the Jimmies as for the Blue Devils. It's like adding another dimension when you're not only backing a team, but a team coached by someone in your family. It takes your fandom to a whole new level.

And anxiety, too, I might add. It's a good thing I don't coach (not that I would know how to do it). I'd have an ulcer five times over by now. I don't know how coaches like Matt handle the stress and endure the emotional roller coaster of having your fate tied to the performance of 18 and 19-year-olds. Of course, there's the rush of victory, and, to some coaches, the satisfaction of teaching life lessons to young men.

I'm sure it's a great ride. I'm glad I've got a front-row seat.

Thanks, Matt.

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