I still remember.
I can still remember on a week like this, five years ago, when I was a freshman a North Carolina State University. It was the week that led up to the most important game of the Wolfpack football season. It was State-Carolina week and the atmosphere around campus was crazy and upbeat with a mix of worry and excitement: the worry of losing again to the hated Tar Heels and the excitement of maybe, just maybe, getting a big win for the Pack. All for the Pack.
And who could blame us back in 2007? For the past three years NC State had lost to North Carolina: 23-9 in 2006; 31-24 in 2005, and 30-24 in 2004. Not once since 2003, when the legendary Philip Rivers was quarterback, had NC State scored a win against the Tar Heels in football. How we missed Philip Rivers!
But our hopes weren’t crushed in 2007. Somewhere in the corner of God’s heart devoted to American Football, He decided that we would have a day to celebrate. It was indeed a glorious day. I would know, for I was there. Me, an ignorant and humble freshman among the wave and mass of the student body. I was there. No one can say that what I witnessed wasn’t true. I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. We won. I couldn’t believe, but the Pack had won. We had finally won. On the last 6 seconds of the game, pass by TJ Yates!…Incomplete! It was over. It was all over. We had won. 31-27. Dear Lord, we had won.
But that was five years ago.
Forwarding to this week: It is October, 2012. It IS State-Carolina week once again.
With the hopes of the Wolfpack Nation also come the worries of the Pack Nation. Since that blessed victory in 2007, the North Carolina State Wolfpack, under Tom O’brien, have managed to win every football game against North Carolina. The series, since 2007, is 5-0 in favor of the Wolfpack. Even though it would be easy to trust in the talent and ability of our team, as Wolfpack fans, we know that the outcome of every game rests in the hands of the Creator. God decides the outcomes of wars. God chooses the result of football games. We know there is no other way.
It is with this very truth and confession in mind that we live through this week. We rock our “NC STATE” sweatshirts and we wave our car flags, as I do now. We “Like” every article that talks about the game and we love going on YouTube to check out the highlights of our past wins against the UNC. We love it. It is an ecstasy like no other. It is especially delicious if one has been at such victories. The taste of the air on that day, at that game…you never forget it. It is football. It is Wolfpack Football. It is State-Carolina game week.
But deep inside, we know that we aren’t worthy. No one is. We are aware of the fact and universal truth that the outcome is only known by the Lord above.
Such a blessing not to know. Such a curse not to know.
On Saturday, October 27th of A.D. 2012, I will be at Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, at the NC State-North Carolina game. My beloved wife, who will be seating next to me, will be rocking her “Carolina blue” apparel while I will wear my NC State Red sweater and hidden NC State socks.
Yes, I wear NC State socks to our games. It’s only weird if it doesn’t work, right?
From now until sometime around 4pm, I will be the most broken and anxious man on Earth. Such is the life of a Wolfpack fan. Nothing is certain. Nothing is taken for granted. Nothing is earned. All is given by the King of Kings above.
So, for old times’ sake, go Wolfpack! Go N-C-State! May your Red and White ever shine and may our lives be worthy of the Pack! Whether we win or lose, we are the Red and White from NC State! A hand behind our back, we can take on all the rest! Go to hell Carolina! Devils and Deacs stand in line! The Red and White from NC State!
Where the winds of Dixie softly blow o’er the fields of Caroline,
There stands ever cherished, NC State, as thy honored shrine
So lift your voices! Loudly sing from hill to oceanside!
Our hearts ever hold you, NC State in the folds of our love and pride.