Tonight is the NCAA Basketball National Championship game, to be played between North Carolina and Villonova. There's an added wrinkle in this which has gone a bit under the wire. The Piccolo Girl.
You may remember the Piccolo Girl, Roxanne Chalifoux, who famously was caught on camera last year with tears streaming down her face as she persevered playing the fight song of her school after it had been upset in the tournament. That school was...Villanova! And this year, they're in the finals. Redemption!
Oddly, that upset loss last year in the third round was against North Carolina State. This year's opponent in the finals is North Carolina. Here's a bit of that moment below, to remind you. (The video says 38 seconds, but the clips is only about 12, and repeats several times...)
There's a lovely article here in yesterday's Chicago Tribune by Zach Helfand, in which he tracked down Ms. Chalifoux, who is now a graduate student at Pennsylvania College of Optometry, as she talks about all the bizarre attention she got last year (and still gets a bit of), though she's done her best to keep it toned done. As she notes in the article, the tears weren't just for the team being upset, but as a senior, she realized at that moment that it would be the last time she performed the school song at a basketball game.
And yes, she says, she will be at the national championship game tonight. Of course. And no, she will not be playing the piccolo.
My favorite thing to come of it all was an absolutely wonderful moment on The Tonight Show. They invited Roxanne Chalifoux,on the program, not just for a gag-sitdown moment, but to sit in and play with the house band, The Roots, and not just for a quick guest spot, but for the entire show, decked out in her Villanova football jersey. The surprise introduction was wonderful, too, as the band opened with, hey, what else?, the Villanova fight song. Plus,, there's a fun, charming interview with host Jimmy Fallon that includes a great story about when she first realized she'd been caught on camera.
Here (after a brief commercial...) is the Tonight Show video --
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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