Auburn and Virginia have more in common than their colors for one Georgia family. They have students that share the same blood.
Courtney Anne Nappi, sophomore in business management at Auburn, and her sister Kate Nappi, a fourth-year nursing student at Virginia, are taking “a once in a lifetime trip” to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to cheer on their teams.
“Once Auburn won, and since UVA won the night before, [we said] we have to go to the game,” Courtney Anne said.
Each of the four family members had Auburn and UVA meeting in the Final Four in their NCAA Tournament brackets, but they never thought it would come true. So when Auburn punched their ticket to Minneapolis after UVA the day before, they knew they had to go.
“It’s just been a wild ride that we actually ended up here, and it’s happening this weekend,” Kate Nappi said.
Though the family didn’t meet until gameday in Minneapolis, that didn’t stop the taunting and bet placing. The sisters have decided that the sister that attends the losing school must wear a hat with the logo of the winning school.
The bets don’t stop there. The winning team will also have their flag flown in front of the family’s house in Georgia for the rest of the year, Courtney Anne Nappi said.
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“Ever since, our family dynamic has been very competitive,” Courtney Anne Nappi said. “Bets have been made. My parents are going very neutral. They support whatever team wins.”
As for game attire, the sisters are decked out in their school’s best. Their parent’s attire is a little more complicated.
Their mom, Kim Nappi, has a UVA shirt with Auburn accessories, while their dad, Brian Nappi, has the opposite.
“My parents took on the UVA spirt when I went here as a first year,” Kate Nappi said. “With Courtney Anne going to Auburn, we’re getting better. From the start, my parents took on the basketball spirit.”
Both parents try to remain neutral and cheer for both teams throughout the year now that they have a student at each school. Brian Nappi jokes that Auburn is his football school, and UVA is his basketball school. That’s something Courtney Anne Nappi is striving to change this weekend.
The drive to attend the Final Four game was more than just a friendly rivalry and family ties to each school, it was the opportunity for memories that brought them together.
“When will this ever happen again when we’re both students?” Courtney Anne Nappi said. “This will be family memories we will talk about forever. We have to go.”
The sisters are grateful that their parents took them to the game and that their schools made it so far in the tournament.
Especially after UVA’s fall to the University of Maryland - Baltimore County in the first round of last year’s tournament and the fact that Auburn has never been to a Final Four, the sisters are almost in disbelief.
“I think it’s just going to be a really special moment to be surround by so many fellow fans and getting to experience that as a family,” Kate Nappi said. “It’s so cool and probably a once in a lifetime experience.”
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