Y’all. Bear with me. Not much can quite compare to this night, this feeling of happiness and joy and redemption and satisfaction and long-term longing for victory. So, I’m just going to take a second here.
Now, back to the Wahoowa. I reckon most won’t understand or know, and that’s totally ok. These words are mostly (like, totally) for me, and people who get me. Mercy, UVA has needed this. I’ve needed this. This feeling of victory. And it is not a common feeling of just winning a game, or having a winning season. This is NOT about basketball.
Charlottesville and UVA have had there fair share of shakes and quakes and WTF-not here-not us stuff these last few years. We have been in the valley.
And that is weird, to watch a world you know and love from a distance – to be brought out into the harsh light of the media and the public scrutiny during valley times – and to wonder, what has become of this place that I called home? So, while I sit in my house in Arizona and celebrate the victory of my Virginia team thousands of miles away, I am overcome with a desire to share what is on my heart about valleys, community and ultimate victory.
Did you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote a version of the Bible? Yes. Yes, he did. It is the Jefferson Bible, and I have it right here by my side right now. TJ was a major fan of all that Jesus had to say during his lifetime on earth. Jefferson might not be the Christian that we would recognize today, yet it is clear that he admired and respected and trusted the words of Jesus and that he made certain to capture every word Jesus spoke aloud in his own version of a Bible. That deserves a big, long, wow. Wahoowa, indeed.
Jefferson knew about valleys, and he faced many of his own during his lifetime. UVA has been inside of valleys. And me, too. And you, too. My personal valleys in the post-collegiate time have been deep and long in duration. Even at UVA, valleys were part of my journey. I’m indescribably thankful to the Drama department, the Cavalier Daily staff, and amazingly perfectly placed friends cultivated here and there to help me get through awkward and occasionally, hellish times on UVA grounds during first, second and third years.
UVA was a home away from home for four years, yet it was a hard road. I was no collegiate athlete. I did not play and lose to a 16th seeded team in the 1st round. And yet, UVA taught me to persevere. And also, UVA taught me to strive. And many times over, UVA taught me to just keep going. And still today, UVA taught me there is more than one way to victory. With leaders like Jefferson, and now a great person like Tony Bennett, UVA continues to teach the lessons of Jesus – with God, all things are possible.
I rest tonight with joy for UVA in my heart. Joy for this team. And deep contentment inside myself, knowing that my long journey with this University has made my life richer and more meaningful inside the valleys, and up the climbs, and over the hills. Victory is with me at every step, high or low, because Jesus is at my side always. Thank you Coach Bennett for reminding me, and anyone else with ears to hear, this truth.