March 27, 2012
For three years I've been writing edgy columns about Duke basketball -- and the people who hate it -- based on my experience as the last of the blue-hot mamas. From beyond the arc I score with satire, sarcasm and arrogance. After all, that's what's expected of Dookies. I wouldn't want to let my alma mater down. Basketball has been a passion since high school cheerleading days, when our fellas won the state championship. I hardly missed a game during college, including those played during exams. After graduation I lived far from my basketball home BUT NOW I'M BACK, obnoxious as ever. However, in an ecumenical dotage, I cheer all North Carolina teams, even the Baby Blues -- and watch every ACC game possible. I may not know out-of-state players' names but I know how they walk and how much they sweat. I can match parents in the stands to sons on the court. Irrelevant, now. Because, even before the Final Four, for me the fat lady has sung. Duke flamed out early, shamefully, to fly-speck Lehigh. At the end, they couldn't buy a basket with a platinum American Express card, which is what the general public believes Dookies use for legal tender. Duke couldn't have passed Sweet Sixteen even with Ryan Kelly healthy. Carolina, after a glorious season (except for FSU and you-know-who) inspired Kansas to superhuman heights. I felt so sorry for Tyler Zeller who never smiles anyway. But I didn't like the way injured Kendall Marshall "coached" from the sidelines, as though Roy-Boy had left the building. The TV guys had a field day with that. I latched onto The Great Red Hope from Raleigh to suffer, once again, a broken heart. I have only kind words and cookies for non-contender Wake Forest. Like Pres. Obama, I picked UNC to win the championship. That oughta get him a few votes in Moore County. My prayers had Duke making the Elite Eight. That was before I realized Kansas and Kentucky were Globetrotters' farm teams. Just as well none of my boys danced the last dance. Let the Wildcats slaughter somebody else's lambs. But the bitterest pill was Austin Rivers' defection. All that hoopla about Doc wanting him under Coach K's tutelage and then he opts for NBA boot camp. This kid doesn't need the money like previous defectors (DON'T SAY KYRIE IRVING'S NAME IN MY PRESENCE!!). Austin's only 19. Besides, except for his stutter-step to the basket and, when the stars are properly aligned, an accurate eye, he's plastic to Nolan SMith's mettle. All beer under the bridge. Oh, I'll watch the Final Four. But with no personal connection, nothing at stake, it's like watching the Canadian curling championships from Nova Scotia. All wounds heal. By October, blue blood will throb through my veins, vitupery will sting my tongue and hope shall rise from the ashes of disappointment. Until then, adieu, hardwood. Addios, Addidas. Maybe (20)13 will be our lucky number. If so...Aloha Atlanta.