Yesterday was Super Tuesday 2020, Election Day in NC…and in California, Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine, Vermont, and American Samoa. By the time you’re reading this, most races will have been called. If you are of age, and an eligible voter, I hope you registered and fulfilled your civic duty.
This however, as the title surely revealed, is not a post about politics. I reversed field, and am writing, albeit briefly, about sports. I noted last week that my city was hosting its 15th and final CIAA Tournament. The Tournament was celebrating its 75th year.
Just as I said I would, I, along with my long-suffering spouse attended games every night, Tuesday through Friday, and the Title Games (Men’s and Women’s) Saturday afternoon. There was lots of basketball played from Tuesday morning to early Saturday evening, much of it very exciting, and some of it quite good. My full disclaimer is, I didn’t see a single day game prior to the Title Tilts. But I didn’t miss any evening games, at least not in their entirety. Translation, I missed the start of a few, especially the 7:00 p.m. games.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with a play-by-play of the games; not any of them. But as an alum and fan of a CIAA affiliated institution, Fayetteville State University, I am going to take a point of personal privilege and share the shout out to my teams, both of which made to the Finals, that I posted on Facebook earlier this week.
I’m sharing because:
- It was the end of the Tournament’s 15-year run in Charlotte
- The Men’s & Women’s team from the same school advancing to the Finals is special
- Fayetteville State University is “my” HBCU
- Break It Down is “my” blog
- I Can
Here’s what I wrote:
“Resolute and resilient! That defined the Broncos Men’s and Women’s hoops teams last week here in CLT @ the 75th and CLT Finale) CIAA Tournament.
The Lady Broncos were on a mission. They went undefeated in the Southern Division, which they won for the 3rd year in a row. They met and conquered all challenges. Job well done; Congratulations ladies.
The Bronco men had a more difficult task, but performed admirably, nevertheless. As a 3rd seed, they opened with 7th seeded Shaw, a team they’d defeated just 4 days earlier, then their work really begun. They played four games in four days, and the last 3 were against higher seeds, Number 2 Virginia Union (North), Number 1 Johnson C. Smith (South), also the host and home standing team, and finally, Number 2, Winston-Salem State University (South) in the Title Game.
In the fell clutch of circumstance, the Broncos did not wince, nor did they cry aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, they may have been bloodied (figuratively), but their heads remained unbowed. Despite the physical and mental challenges, their grit and determination enabled them to lead until the last 4.6 seconds of the Title game. Alas, Winston-Salem State won; kudos to them.
I extend sincere congratulations to the 2020 CIAA Men’s Basketball Champions, the Winston-Salem State University Rams, and their renown Ramily…and richly deserved mad respect, endless love and congratulations to my forever squads, The Fayetteville State University Broncos, 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament Men’s Runners-up & Fayetteville State Lady Broncos, 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament Women’s Champions.
A special shout out to Coaches Luke D’Alessio and Serena King-Coleman, and to my favorite Graduate Assistant Coach in the whole world, C.J. Wiggins, Jr. Love you Cuz!
Attitude Check! Proud To Be; GO BRONCOS!”
As I noted above, 2020 marked the end of the annual CLT CIAA ritual. Next year’s festivities will commence in Baltimore. May the Maryland hosts derive as much pleasure from the event as we did in North Carolina. There are mixed feelings in these parts about the Tourney’s departure. Some folks believed that the tournament grew to be a nuisance. A few of our citizens literally fled the premises during CIAA Week. Others “endured” it grudgingly. And then there were those whom, like me, awaited ticket availability anxiously, and bought tix as soon as they became available. Fans also had mixed experiences. Some faced “CIAA taxes” on meals and beverages at uptown facilities, while others were gouged by hoteliers. And then there was the Conference itself, who moved its headquarters to Charlotte several years ago, after one of the contract extension negotiations. The organization felt entrepreneurs played fast and loose with the CIAA name/brand and fought to get a handle on that matter.
In reflection, through it all, I believe the partnership was mutually beneficial. This year’s event is reported to have garnered more than 150,000 attendees, while last year’s event brought in $43 million. The partnership generated millions of dollars in scholarship money to the member colleges and universities. Still, it was a business arrangement, and few things last forever. The union lasted 15 years, which is longer than the tournament stayed at any other venue. Maryland is a fine state, and Baltimore is a historic city. For the next three years, they will host the CIAA Tournament. To that end, I have no crystal ball, so in bidding the event adieu, I put it this way. “CIAA Says Good-bye to Charlotte: For Now, At least!”
Thank you for allowing me to share. I’m done; holla back!
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