Sweet Caroline: The NCAA Odyssey of the Davidson Wildcats

"Good times never seem so good. Oh, I've been inclined to believe it never would."

Across Main street from the silence of the college church sanctuary,

On Good Friday, there was a buzz in the Soda Shop, legendary.

Adorning the walls are photos of varsity stars over the generations;

If there is a Davidson myth that lives, the old "M&M" is the location.

In this yet small, academically conscious, college town,

On everyone's mind was getting past the first round.

For the Wildcats were facing Gonzaga U. in the NCAA,

And the crowd was wincing, or shouting, on every play.

Like an opening-night performance on Broadway, a "diminutive" guard was the star,

Racking up 30 points in the second half, as the student athletes raised the bar.

'Tis written: it matters not whether you win or lose--but how you play the game ...

NOT this season, for the curse is broken, life-after-Lefty has suddenly been regained!


The very physical blue and gray giants from Georgetown entered the second round

As heavy favorites. In sportswriter lingo: a mere number ten versus a second seed.

They got off to a roaring start, shooting the lights out ... running up a 17-point lead;

Well into the second half, the pushy big guys were, seemingly, victory bound.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the "sweet sixteen" in Motown, the motor city:

There stood a Zeus-like Olympian god in the way, cool, soft, sweet-shot Stephen Curry.

With the thunderbolt as his sign, the rainbow as his messenger, he sunk a bunch of threes;

Cheered on by Davidson red and Carolina powder blue, he shot over the towering trees!

While his teammates forced turnovers, took the charges, and executed assists on offense,

He (and Richards) fluidly overcame the heralded low-percentage shot, stingiest defense.

With five minutes to go, the Wildcats caught the fouling Hoyas (what?) for the first time;

Those multinational whiz kids did not look back, and soon were singing "Sweet Caroline."


Thus the anointed emissaries of dreams came to the third round in Michigan,

Where they buried the burrowing, third-seeded Badgers from Wisconsin ...

The score was tied at half-time, then the 'Cats moved ahead by seventeen,

Ascending to the "elite eight," where for decades they had not been.

A Cinderella had shaken college basketball, but pedigreed Kansas was at the pass;

Davidson led Goliath by as much as four, with no more than six dividing first from last.

The route to the Final Four will be retold ages hence in "what if" national sports lore;

With less than a minute left, the guerrillas' lead was cut to two: 59-57, the final score.

For laying in wait were the mysterious goddesses of Fate--Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos--one last shot denied to Curry.

I know: things are supposed to be as they are, events to happen as they do, but definitions do not determine your destiny.

Yes, Fate suggests inevitability, immutability, even agony; but it carries no clear good or bad implication...

So fear not destiny, your hurt --hurting runs off my shoulder-- will heal, for you are young, I affirm without hesitation.

Witness: On March 30, 2008, a team of courageous athletes--touching the national conscience-- fought at their own Agincourt.

The fewer the men, Coach McKillop et.al. , the greater share of honor this band of brothers take from the court.

Ye happy few have become household words: Sander, Lovedale, Richards, Gosselin, Curry, Meno, Archambault, Rossiter, and Barr of Davidson.

As Shakespeare wrote and King Henry spoke: "This story shall the good man teach his son ... "

Class of 1957