These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!
There’s the pass to Laettner. Puts it up. YEEEESSSS! And with that buzzer beater, Duke beat Kentucky in the 1992 regional finals of the NCAA tourney. Duke would go on to win the title that year, but it’s this shot from the quarterfinals that everyone remembers. In fact, this shot is often referred to as The Shot. Sports Illustrated calls this game the greatest college basketball game of all time, and ESPN rated The Shot as #17 on its list of top 100 sports moments in the past 25 years. It’s one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history, and I happen to remember watching it live.
I was a 12-year-old kid sitting in my bedroom in our house in downtown Charleston, SC. I remember that I should have been sleeping, but I was up watching the Duke game on my tiny little tv. (It was one of those old tv’s with an actual knob, and it only got 13 channels. Fortunately, one of those channels was the Duke game!) I don’t remember how I became a Duke fan, but I’ve just been a Duke fan for as long as I can remember.
I attended Duke for undergrad, and I went to every game that I could manage during those years. I camped out for a month in a parking lot for tickets to the Duke-UNC game my freshman year. We ended up sitting front row, center court for that game. And Duke won. Oh, and for you Duke fans out there, you’ll appreciate that one early morning I awoke to see Grant Hill pulling into a parking space next to us. He just looked at me, shook his head and said, “Already camping for the game?” I think the date was January 2.
Do you remember Cingular Wireless? They were one of the big cell phone service providers back when I was in college, and they hosted a “Most Expressive College Basketball Fan in the Country” contest my senior year in college. (For the record, Cingular Wireless rebranded to AT&T Wireless in 2007. I just looked it up because I was curious what happened to them.) I entered the contest on a whim and then promptly forgot about it. Duke lost to Indiana in the regional semifinals that year, and at that point I just turned my focus towards finishing college and getting a job. Then my phone rang about 5 days before the Final Four.
I had been named one of the top 10 finalists for Most Expressive College Basketball Fan of the Year. I seriously thought it was a prank call at first. But it was real. And I won a trip down to the Final Four in Atlanta. I remember sitting in one of the huge downtown Atlanta hotels writing a final policy paper for one of my classes. (For the record, that paper was terrible. And my professor graded it as such.) While in Atlanta, 10 of us competed for the top spot, which included a year’s worth of wireless service and a stupidly heavy crystal trophy.
The day before the winner was announced, the contest organizer pulled me aside and showed me the online voting. I was ahead…by a lot. Sure enough, I ended up winning. They recorded a short tv clip of me with Billy Packer that aired during halftime of the national championship game. (I’ve actually never watched that clip. #TrueStory) My face was painted full-on Duke blue. (For any Duke fans out there, you’ll appreciate the irony that Billy Packer was the announcer chosen to appear in this clip. Billy hated Duke, and I remember how we’d groan whenever a Duke game was on tv with Billy Packer. But I digress.) I won! I was the Most Expressive College Basketball Fan of the Year!
Fast forward 16 years. Cingular Wireless is no more. But I still have a crystal trophy in the shape of Cingular’s logo. I might be a bit older now, but I’m still very much enthusiastic about Duke basketball. In fact, I take vacation on the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament every year. I watch all of the games religiously. Laura had no idea what she was getting into when she married me! This year, I’m bringing Robbie on-board my cheering squad. I’ve currently got him yelling “Go Devils” whenever he sees basketball on tv…even if Duke isn’t playing. I’ll take it!
But enough blabbering about times gone past. Let’s blabber about food for a hot minute or two. Let’s blabber about these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos! Nachos are a classic sports appetizer, and these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos have been a favorite NCAA tournament snack for years now. Truthfully, you don’t really need a recipe for nachos, right? Just put a bunch of chips down, load ’em up with your favorite toppings and then settle in to watch the game. I did include my recipe for these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos below, but feel free to adapt it to your own tastes. Want to add some black beans? Go for it! Not a chicken fan? Leave it off! Think cilantro tastes like lemon cleaner? Use green onions instead! Mix it up as you see fit, but most importantly…enjoy!
Whip up a batch of these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos and turn on the NCAA tournament this weekend! You can bet I’ll be watching intently, and cheering like a maniac down in my basement man cave. Cheers, friends!
Looking for more nacho love? How about these Buffalo Chicken Nachos?
Or this Classic Nacho Cheese Dip?