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Back in the saddle again

Things have been a little hectic here in the Gravel Pit as of late, and I must apologize to my loyal readers for going AWOL the last two weeks. No worries, though - I'm back now, and I suppose that's all that matters.

The main reason I haven't produced anything recently should come as no surprise to those who know me well: I can't seem to write anything non-sports related. And who can blame me? The NFL off-season is kicking into gear (the draft will be upon us before we know it), March Madness is here, baseball is right around the corner and - perhaps most importantly - the NBA just keeps getting more entertaining with each passing day.

That being said, I need to wax poetic on sports this week - if I don't, I'll slowly start developing a tumor on my frontal lobe.

Every once in a while, there's a story that sort of transcends sport. Remember the autistic teenager a few years ago who came off the bench to score 21 points for his high school team? That's the kind of story I'm talking about. The one that doesn't just lead-off Sports Center, but makes headlines nationwide.

Before I go any further, I need to make two points: (1) I hate the North Carolina Tar Heels and (2) I hate the Duke Blue Devils even more.

But Sunday night, as I watched Duke fall to UNC in one of sports' greatest rivalries, I saw that indelible, inspirational aspect of sport personified as Tyler Hansborough (whom I also resent, but that's beside the point) walked to center court and stood before his home crowd one last time.

For those of you who wondered why Hansborough opted to finish his four-year career at UNC and forego millions of NBA dollars, I recommend that you look up the video of Tyler as he waves to the mammoth powder-blue crowd. The scene speaks for itself. His parents, standing court side, weep tears of joy as their son welcomes the accolades of some 20,000 crazed fans.

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