March 18, 2005 may well have been the night of my life.
A year earlier, in the spring of my senior year in high school when I decided to attend UVM, the short list of reasons to come to Burlington included: the scholarships, the basketball team and the location.
In that order.
I knew –– a year before the top moment in UVM sports history happened –– that the season was going to be special.
People joke that Vermonters can feel the weather in their bones, but Icould feel this.
I knew at that time that one of my mom’s co-workers had tickets for the 2005 NCAA tournament in both Syracuse and Worcester.
He offered me tickets to either venue in March 2004 and, in a glorious twist of fate, the offer played out perfectly in March 2005.
UVM, a 13 seed, was pitted against the perennial powerhouse Syracuse, a 4 seed, in Worcester, Mass. for the first round of the “Big Dance.”
My school, my state, my team. And I had tickets. Righteous!
The game hits halftime and the score was Syracuse 23, Vermont 19. I was OK with that. Four points. We could handle that. I just knew it.
I don’t remember ever being so brazenly proud or optimistic. I’m getting shivers right now thinking about it.
My team was playing their hearts out and it was a game. Worcester was rooting for Vermont –– well, everyone not wearing orange.
We made it to overtime. In the NCAA tournament. AHHHHHHH!
We were still in it. Oh my God! Oh my God! How?
Mopa is playing the game of his life, Coppenrath has been struggling, but we’re in it.
And then there was “The Shot.”
Why Sorrentine decided to pull up for a three-pointer from almost 30 feet I’ll never know, but I’ll cherish until the day I die.
“Sorrentine … hits that one from the parking lot!” Ha!
Nowadays, I watch the video of the shot online (click on “Sorrentine’s three-point bomb”) and it doesn’t just bring me back to Worcester, it brings back every bit of the emotion that came with the moment.
It makes me feel invincible, ecstatic, perfect. Nothing else compares.
Calling it transcendent would be cliché, but calling it the greatest moment in UVM sports history and the happiest moment of my life would not.
My only regret? I didn’t even bet on us beating the spread. What an idiot. I’ll chalk it up to blissful ignorance.