Digging the madness | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

Digging the madness 

Saturday night at Pop's restaurant in Durham. We're almost done killing time over a leisurely dinner in the bar while our sixth-grader celebrates one of the many rites of passage heading his way in the next few years: a school social.

As the coffee arrives, my Terrapins struggle on the screen over the bartender's head, their Final Four dreams fading at the hands of the Syracuse Orangemen.

The broadcast vacillates, maddeningly, between the simultaneous nail-biting finales of the Maryland/Syracuse heartbreaker and the Stanford/Alabama upset as a small crowd of diners ooze out of their seats in the more civilized section of the restaurant and coalesce over my shoulder. While the Terps struggle for breath and the almost-undefeated Stanford players grab their ears in disbelief, we all chat with the ease of strangers in bars. Ten years in this Tar Heel-Blue Devil-Wolfpack corner of the world have made me wary of cheering for my alma mater in public places, so I'm startled to learn that my compatriots are all pulling for my team.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not a diehard basketball fan, though living in the Triangle has given me a healthy appreciation of the way the world stops for some people and workplaces on certain days each March. Cold beer on a hot summer day at the Durham Bulls is much more my style.

But I have to admit that Maryland basketball touches a soft spot. Len Bias died at the end of my first year in College Park, and our sports programs fell into a funk that lasted long after I graduated. Lenny was a U. of Md. icon, a (very tall) walking success story. We celebrated the promise of his fame and glory in the NBA as if we had personally achieved it. He dated a woman who lived two doors down from me in my dorm, and his appearance in the hallway never failed to draw a crowd of female groupies charmed by his Magic Johnson smile and soft-spoken flirtations. When he died of a drug overdose, successful Maryland sports died with him, for a while. The basketball and football coaches left. The teams all tanked. The student section of the bleachers seemed quieter at every sport. I felt robbed of some quintessential college experience, of my chance to be a Cameron Crazy, of camping in line for tickets to the NCAA championship.

But the Terps are back in the game now, no more so than two years ago, when they took the national basketball title and I actually saw Coach Gary Williams smile for the first time, ever.

Just a little over a week ago, the guys I'm standing with in the bar were all rooting for their own teams in the battle against Maryland for the ACC title. (The Terps came out on top of that one for the first time in more than 40 years, drawing another historic grin from our coach.)

But now we all stand united under one acronym, representing, among our small crowd, at least one graduate of almost every ACC school. We all heave a collective sigh as the buzzer sounds, 72-70, Syracuse. March is fading fast for all our teams. Soon, it will be baseball season.

Latest in Front Porch

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Nobody will be surprised to learn that Hocutt never went to Nam. He was in the Navy but washed out …

by Jefflenter on Raleigh bad boy no more (Front Porch)

I see his concern. Yes, it was a well written story and showed his caring side for sure. But not …

by Linda Bates Terrell on Motorcycle men (Front Porch)

Follow-up to my "nervous mom" comment. The last coupe of weeks we have been in many situations with individuals that …

by paulapowers on Governor's School blues (Front Porch)

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

  1. Dot-con (Peripheral Visions)
  2. Smug Revisionism (Letters to the Editor)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation