My bittersweet Sweet 16

(Photo: myabc50.com)

(Photo: myabc50.com)

I feel like the Mannings this week. I used to kind of mock them, when they talked about how hard it was to watch Peyton and Eli play each other. “Yeah. Your sons are both Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in the NFL. I’m sure that’s soooo difficult.”

But I feel for them this week. I really do. The Harbaughs too.

You see…my alma mater, Syracuse is playing my adopted home state of Indiana in the Sweet 16. So, you could say I’m stuck between an orange and a heart place. Or a rock and an orange place. Either way, it’s no good place to be as a fan.

I love Syracuse. I enjoyed the four years I spent there (at times a little too much), I got my degree from the best journalism school in the country (step aside Mizzou), and have always been a proud alumna (even when Bob Costas embarrasses me).

But I also love Indiana. When I first moved to Indianapolis eight and a half years ago, I didn’t know what a Hoosier was. But over the years, I have gradually become one. My husband said the transformation was complete the year I put checkered flags out during Indy 500 race week. I tend to agree.

This is how the new Indiana University commercial defines a Hoosier:

“Any person who has spent at least part of his or her life in the great state of Indiana.”

So, there you have it. It’s official. I am a Hoosier. And as a Hoosier, I have developed a great fondness for basketball and specifically for the IU basketball team, appropriately named the Hoosiers.

No less than everybody has asked me who I’m pulling for this week when my Orange play my Hoosiers. I actually have mixed feelings about it. Both teams have been through some ups and downs and have come so far to get here. The excitement of seeing them in the Sweet 16 together is tempered by the reality that this will be the end of the road for one of them.

So, after much thought…I have decided to follow the example of the Mannings. Come Thursday, I will be wearing a shirt with a reddish-orangey hue and I will cheer for…whoever has the ball.

Because this is one game that my team can’t lose. But it’s also a game that my team can’t win.

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