Mark Tarbrake was admittedly pretty tired on Sunday evening and, by rights, he should have called it an early night.
But the Jamestown resident and Chautauqua County legislator was riveted to his television.
''I couldn't get away from it,'' he said.
North Carolina State men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano celebrates after the Wolfpack defeated Houston in the 1983 NCAA?national championship game in Albuquerque, N.M.
AP file photo
For two hours, courtesy of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary entitled ''Survive and Advance,'' Tarbrake was transported back 30 years to arguably the most memorable NCAA men's basketball championship game in history.
North Carolina State vs. Houston.
David vs. Goliath.
Underdog vs. Overwhelming Favorite.
But for Tarbrake and former area residents Jon Moore and Dan Bjork, they don't have to rely on video highlights of the Wolfpack's improbable victory over the Cougars or of N.C. State coach Jim Valvano gleefully cutting down the nets afterward.
The men can simply reach into their respective memory banks, because they witnessed the upset in person. Thanks to the generosity of Ron Frederes, a friend and former Southwestern Central School teacher who provided the tickets, Tarbrake, Moore and Bjork traveled to the Final Four in Albuquerque, N.M., in March 1983.
''It was like magic,'' said Tarbrake, who works in production control at SKF. '' ... The crowd rooted so hard for N.C. State. Of the four teams, overwhelmingly they were the darlings of the tournament.''
And Valvano was the darling of, well, just about everybody.
''He was something else,'' said Tarbrake. ''We went out to a night club out there and someone said, 'You just missed Valvano. He won the dance contest.' The next day in the paper there was a picture of Valvano dancing and he had a trophy in his hands.''
It wouldn't be the only trophy he would bring back to Raleigh, N.C. from that trip out west, which capped an amazing run through the NCAA Tournament. Sadly, the ESPN documentary also showed how - 10 years later - Valvano courageously dealt with his terminal cancer diagnosis.
''(The documentary) did bring back a lot of memories,'' Tarbrake said. ''I really liked Valvano. I liked his personality. He hated to lose and he was just so good with the players. (The documentary) did bring me to tears, because of the love his players had for him. That's what really came across to me.''
The trip to the 1983 Final Four was one of five that Tarbrake, Moore and a collection of friends attended in the 1980s. They also saw memorable championship games in 1982 (Michael Jordan's game-winning shot for North Carolina), 1985 (Villanova's upset of Georgetown), 1987 (Indiana's last-second victory over Syracuse) and 1988 (Kansas' victory over Oklahoma).
Along the way, the local residents, who also obtained tickets courtesy of a lottery, had an opportunity to meet some of basketball's biggest names, including former New York Knick Walt Frazier, broadcaster Dick Vitale, and former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino.
''We always talk about it,'' Tarbrake said. ''(Moore, who now lives in southern California) and I have really good memories, especially the first one.''