Now is the time to start planning ahead for ticket sales and travel accommodations. Basketball season will be upon us before we know it, as will the holidays. Soon the summer will come to a close and fall will be rushing through the door.
Sitting around the pool with the family last weekend, we debated the outside possibility of attending the Battle 4 Atlantis. In theory, it seems like a great idea. Who wouldn’t love a half week in the fun and sun of the Bahamas watching Carolina basketball?
In its ninth year of existence, the Battle 4 Atlantis has become a week of Thanksgiving staple. In addition to the Heels this year, the bracket features Oregon, Michigan, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Seton Hall, Alabama and Southern Miss. Carolina and Gonzaga both look like preseason top-10 teams, with Seton Hall as a top 20 team and Oregon and Michigan both hanging right around the edge of ranking. In other words, this is a very good field.
For a family of five, however, the price tag can get a little steep once travel and meals are included. Plus there is the opportunity cost of missing Thanksgiving dinner and the weekend with the whole extended family. Looking at the pros and cons, suddenly a debate started to emerge.
To make the debate a little clearer, let’s assume that total cost is not an issue. In a mythical contest of skill and chance, you the reader have prevailed and been awarded travel, accommodations and game tickets (there is not any kind of actual contest or prize here, this is only a hypothetical for purposes of a great debate). You can only take one person with you, however. That means leaving kids, parents, and other family at home.
The Debate for the week of July 22: If you won a trip for two to the Battle 4 Atlantis, would you go?
Point: So this means going to the Bahamas in late November to watch a young and exciting Carolina team play three games? Easy choice.
The Atlantis resort looks awesome. There is a huge water park, plenty of beaches, and great dining options. Even without the tournament, it looks like a paradise.
Then throw in the opportunity to watch three very early Tar Heel games. This team is both exciting and a bit mysterious. There are highly-ranked freshmen Cole Anthony, Armando Bacot, Anthony Harris and Jeremiah Francis. There are immediate impact transfers Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce. There are returning big men Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman. And there are breakout stars waiting to happen in Leaky Black and Brandon Robinson (and Andrew Platek?).
This is going to be a very exciting team and there is no better time to see them than in the early season developmental period. Roy Williams loves to play a deep bench in the preseason, especially in tournament play with three games in three days. This is a chance to watch the entire squad in action and to be there at the inception of chemistry and flow.
Additionally, one of the greatest elements of Thanksgiving weekend is no longer really a thing. Black Friday used to be an event. Then it expanded to Black Friday and Thursday evening. Now it is just a commercial blob that can be better accomplished in front of a computer than in mostly empty malls.
Going to Atlantis allows you to watch the games in a very small gym while wearing shorts and a beach shirt. This is the life and the only debate in my house would be who was going with me. Thanksgiving happens every year; a chance like this is very rare and should be seized.
Counterpoint: Family is the most important and holidays should be spent gorging on great food, enjoying a few beverages with loved ones, and watching basketball together on the television.
The Carolina Way is all about family. Whether its teammates, close friends, extended relatives, or those within your own house, family is what makes life so special. Sports are a wonderful shared experience that unite fans.
New Year’s Day is a pretty good sports holiday with the bowl games. Father’s Day has the US Open. Thanksgiving, however, is the king holiday when it comes to sports. The weekend contains pro football games, rivalry college football contests, and college basketball tournaments.
This is not a weekend to be selfish and spend with only one other person. This is the time to rejoice in a group setting and scream at the television like a partially sane adult. There are special traditions that surround the Thanksgiving holiday making them too valuable to miss for even the most exciting of settings.
Spend the time with the whole family and root on the Heels from home.
Time for you to decide! Would you abandon the stress of Thanksgiving for a trip to the Bahamas to watch the Heels? Perhaps family traditions are too strong for even an in-person session with Carolina basketball.
As always, readers are encouraged to join in through the comments and point out what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we never thought of. Also, please feel free to provide suggestions for future topics so we can cover what interests readers and what information is needed to ensure victory when debating slow-witted friends who don’t read the articles! As the sign in my parents’ yard reads, Keep Calm and Go Heels!