Return to normalcy

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A championship has returned to North Carolina, and so, too, it seems, have championship sites.

North Carolina’s NCAA Championship win over Gonzaga on Monday nearly coincided with the NCAA and ACC, among others, reconsideration of North Carolina for championship events. The decision to do so came as a direct result of state lawmakers repealing House Bill 2 with House Bill 142.

Professional sports have taken notice, too. After moving its all-star game from Charlotte to New Orleans last year, the NBA announced it would consider giving the “Queen City” an all-star weekend in the future.

Redemption was the storyline for the Tar Heels as they fought to cut down the nets Monday in Phoenix. They reclaimed their glory as they sought to do, and so did the state’s sports culture.

Having college championship events come back to the state is important. College basketball is a way of life in North Carolina. So, too, is college football.

It’s something that has an impact as far reaching as Beaufort County. Many of the NCAA postseason events in the state are located in Charlotte, Greensboro or the Raleigh-Durham area. However, one of the casualties of HB2 was this year’s Division I women’s golf regional, which was set to take place in Greenville.

Between the Tar Heels and their title, and being considered for postseason events again, North Carolina’s championship culture is revitalized. It’s a culture that reaches from the bustling cities to the more rural areas. Even in Beaufort County, football players dream of one day playing for an ACC Championship in Charlotte. Basketball players strive to compete in the Greensboro Coliseum.

That culture has played a role in Beaufort County’s athletic history. It’s helped produce the likes of Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, Dominique Wilkins, Terrance Copper, C.J. Wilson, and so many more to come.

Thankfully, that culture has returned to the state in the form of a championship and future championships which will be decided here.