Sunday, March 18, 2012

Staying quiet on Norfolk State

It was certainly a shock Friday to watch No. 15 seed Norfolk State stun Missouri in the NCAA tournament, bringing back memories of some of the other 15-2 upsets in March Madness.

It's hard to forget 2001, for example, when Hampton beat Iowa State, and the famous image from after that game of a Hampton player lifting up his coach in excitement.

Still, it would have been a mistake to say anything that attached some semblance of unlikeliness to Norfolk State on Friday.

Trust me.

On Sept. 10, West Virginia was hosting none other than Norfolk State, a MEAC school from Virginia with a little more than 6,200 students.

Many times in sports, we make the mistake of relying far too much on name recognition and expecting a result to fall based primarily on that.

That's what made it a surprise when Norfolk State was up, 12-10, at halftime.

On Twitter, because I consider the Mountaineers as my second favorite college football team, I said, "West Virginia is losing at the half to Norfolk State? Really?!?"

Bad move in this social media age.

A few minutes later, I noticed I had been retweeted on the Norfolk State campus. They didn't say anything derogatory in response when they easily could have. They only put the RT, with the hashtag "#beholdthegreenandgold".

West Virginia ended up winning, 55-12, but the moral of the story was clear enough.

Watching Norfolk State against Missouri on Friday, helplessly watching one of my brackets take a direct hit since I had the Tigers going to the national championship game, I could only think of one thing.

Behold the green and gold.

And besides, how can you not like a team that showed the personality they did postgame?

My bracket allegiance pulled me to Florida on Sunday. But I wasn't hating on Norfolk State after a lesson learned.

- Chris Lillstrung


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