All lessons that you need to learn about life you can learn through sport. Julius Hodge taught a lesson to fans of people around the sports world on Sunday afternoon at the MCI center. The Joy of achievement, the Thrill of a Challenge and the Bitter Sweet fear that he was just not quite enough for the task. Mr. Hodge, you were enough for the task. You took over as a leader for our Wolfpack Basketball team.
Over the last decade and a half, there have been times when it has been frustrating to be a Wolfpack fan. We, true fans, have a kind of unconditional love of our coaches and players. But in the weeks of this 2001-2002 basketball season, our Cardiac Pack has come back.
Mr. Hodge cried Wolfpack tears of frustration for all of us who wear the red and white. The almost was and could have beens and oh so closes were in those tears. An inch here, an inch there... Mr. Hodge cried tears of elation. He was a leader of a team that has brought Wolfpack Basketball back from the brink. And Mr. Hodge cried tears of joy. He was not ready for this wondrous season of Wolfpack Basketball to end.
So many of us have grown up and seen more than a hair or two turn grey from the ups and downs, following the teams we care for. The players have been idols to us as children and conquering heros as we age. And we can enter another group of young men into that special place in our memories and hearts. The image of Mr. Hodge displaying so many emotions in the brief moments following the contest on Sunday in Washington DC will stand forever in time as a great moment for Wolfpack basketball. Thank you Mr. Hodge and each of your teammates and coaches. Thank you from Wolfpack fans everywhere.