I Envy Will Privette
Will Privette’s 15 minutes of fame ended earlier this week, but for 15 minutes to span a few days and earn a handful of interviews with national media outlets, that’s pretty good length. Privette became known after he joined many from the North Carolina State student body in rushing the court after Saturday’s win over top-ranked and undefeated Duke.
Of course, this wouldn’t have been a story except for the fact that Privette uses a wheelchair and could be seen on TV as one of the first people bolting to the center of the floor, with the help of the student body president pushing his chair. Immediately, Dick Vitale expressed concern over Privette’s well-being, hoping he doesn’t get hurt in the crowd.
The next day, Michael Wilbon called it a “terrible” and “awful” moment. “This is inches from being a tragedy,” he said on Monday’s edition of Pardon the Interruption. “You don’t, in a chair, … roll out there in a mob scene. My God! Anybody have any common sense any more?”
Yes, Privette could have been seriously hurt. He did fall out of his chair as the waves of students crashing the court engulfed him. He was found by Wolfpack star C.J. Leslie, who held him for a couple of minutes until his chair was retrieved. Indeed, it could have been bad.
With that being said … how freaking cool is this kid??
Do you know how many times I have been in a most pit in my wheelchair? None.
Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to be in a most pit in my wheelchair? Hundreds.
It’s called living, people! If I had been in Privette’s situation while I was an undergrad, I would have done the exact same thing without a second thought. However, two factors prevented that: UCF basketball has never beaten a top-25 team at home, and it would have been kind of wrong if I rushed the court while I was supposed to be a member of the media covering many of those games. Journalistic integrity and whatever.
I do remember one time when I had the opportunity to pull a Privette. It was Sept. 24, 2005, and UCF’s football team had just won its first game in 18 tries. I was sitting in the stands about three rows from the field. However, those three steps and the eight-foot wall that separated the stands from the field weren’t exactly wheelchair-friendly. So while Knights fans paraded around the Citrus Bowl turf for about 20 minutes, I just sat there next to my mom. Wanting …
But enough about how I have screwed up in life. I commend Privette for doing what he wanting to do and eschewing the risks. He told USA Today that what he did was dumb but awesome. And that’s a great way to look at it. Yeah, in retrospect, he probably wishes that he hadn’t been bowled over by dozens of people and there hadn’t been photos taken of him held by one of the players while his pants were falling down.
But really, what a great fucking story to tell to for the rest of your life.
So, yeah, I envy Will Privette. I may even look up to him as an exemplar of how people in wheelchairs should live life: with no regrets.
Although, maybe I should hold off on that level of admiration. Considering the current topics in the sports world, Privette will probably be revealed later as a fake, with a disability that doesn’t exist, who used the wheelchair just to gain publicity. But I’ll get to that issue a little later.