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Of wolves and precious seconds...

All my life, I have been a dedicated fan of NC State basketball. No matter the year or circumstance, from the glory days of the 1970's/80's to the dark pits of the 1990's, Mr. Wuf hangs proudly in the Jackson home. Games are fun to watch on TV, but nothing beats the smell of popcorn on the sideline.

It's an almost surreal environment, the college basketball game. The atmosphere is a frenzied moment in time; like a storm that comes and is remembered, but leaves little evidence of the passing. For 2 hours, restaurants exist and vendors peddle their wares. Men and women don costumes, a game is played, and strangers unite in a synergy of chants, taunts, and superstitious incantations. And then the final buzzer sounds, the carriage returns to a pumpkin, and everyone heads home.

One of my fondest childhood memories revolves around Reynolds Coliseum, the former home of NC State Basketball. I was in the 6th grade when I saw my first game. Dad and mom took me, and I felt like a little king sitting way up in the dizzying heights of the back row. I could barely see the action, but it didn't matter. I was there. The late Jim Valvano was coaching that night, and the wolfpack narrowly defeated a pesky Maryland team. By the end of game, I was sweating harder that the players on the court. It's an experience that I hope to pass on to my own son very soon.

As fans are aware, basketball season wraps-up during the traditional start of "severe weather time" in southeastern NC. Indeed, the month of March is often remembered more for tornado outbreaks than NCAA tournaments. Nearly 2 decades ago, when I first started working as a meteorologist, I remember breaking into programming to cover a tornado warning. Unfortunately, the warning occurred during the final few minutes of a tied ball game. I was called many unpleasant names by upset viewers that night, but that's just part of our business sometimes. As I often tell aspiring scientists, broadcast meteorologists have to develop a "thick skin" very early in their careers. Unpleasant as it sometimes can be, severe weather is top priority- regardless of programming.

So the next time your favorite ball game is interrupted by severe weather, please have a little mercy on the offending meteorologist. Chances are, he/she is a basketball fan too. Go Wolfpack!


NOTE*- You can now join Jerry on facebook! Here's the link: Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson

By: Jerry Jackson