Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's Get DUKED UP!

That's a new catch phrase I'm trying to start. Do you guys think it'll stick? Picture this awesome scenario:

Parking lot, Cameron Indoor Stadium, I walk up to a crowd of despondent Duke alumni.

Me: Yo everyone, why the long faces?

Them: We're playing a really good team. We have no chance. Life is sad.

Me: Looks like somebody needs to get....DUKED UP!

Background cheers as a huge party truck roars up, painted Duke blue, and Duke cheerleaders jump out of the back carrying banners and pennants and handing out blue body paint and blue kool-aid as everyone gets Duked Up for the big game.

Here's how that would actually go, in the real world of real Duke alumni.

Me: Yo everyone, why the long faces?

Them: Hey bro, no offense, but this party's sorta exclusive.

Me: What? We're in a parking lot.

Them: Bro, be cool. We don't want to have to say it again.

Me: Why are you guys all wearing madras and paisley?

Them: Why are you still here, FAG?

Me: There's supposed to be this truck...

Anyway, I'll be getting Duked up tonight, except with a significant caveat:

Even though I have tickets, I will not be going to the game.

Does this make me a bad fan? It may be my last chance to see the Devils this year, but the game doesn't start til 9:30, and I have a flight out of NYC at 7:30 the next morning (wake-up time = 5:00 am). Sleeping on planes is basically impossible for me, so I've decided to skip the game, watch it on tv, and go to sleep right after rather than come home at 1 am and try to catch whatever Zs are still skittering about.

This probably makes me a bad fan. PS, if anyone wants two cheap tickets to tonight's game ($20 total), get in touch.

Okay, so, as mentioned before I'll be in St. Thomas for the next few days. No more blogs until one week from this morning, on Wednesday the 2nd. That being said, here are some sporting events to anticipate in the next few days:

*DUKE-ASU! DUKE-UCONN! The former happens tonight, the latter happens Friday if both teams win. I'm ridiculously excited to watch us take on a legitimate team. I'm predicting Nolan puts up 18 tonight and 26 tomorrow, with close to 10 assists in each, and gets tourney MVP.

*Alabama-Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Friday, and Florida-FSU Saturday. The Gators and the Tide are already set to meet in what will be the regular season game of the decade (yes, decade) next weekend, but these tune-ups should be a lot of fun. Not only are the rivalries ancient and fierce and whatever else; I feel like both teams will be playing with something to prove, to show that they're the stronger club going into the SEC title game.

*Saturday is actually stacked with great football. I'm a dude who loves the old rivalries, and this weekend brings us: USC-UCLA, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Oklahoma St.-Oklahoma, Arkansas-LSU, Virginia Tech-Virginia, Clemson-South Carolina, and Utah-BYU. In the non-rivalry category, Notre Dame-Stanford should be a pretty fun game. Will the Irish take orders from Weis, or will they look across the field and obey next year's coach, Jim Harbaugh?

PS, Clemson is a really, really good team. They're only ranked 23rd because of three early losses, but they've now reeled off six straight wins against some quality opponents. And take a look at those three early losses: 30-27 against Georgia Tech (top ten team), 14-10 against TCU (undefeated, #4 in the country), and 24-21 against Maryland (national champions in basketball, 2002). Okay, so the Maryland one is rough, but aside from that, those are some tough losses to great teams. They play Tech again in the ACC Championship next weekend, and it may be the first time I've looked forward to that particular title clash...ever? Yes, ever.

*Giants-Broncos Thursday night. A few weeks ago, this match-up gave me the willies. Now? I'll be hugely surprised if we don't win by like 30. Denver is a living example of the classic gut-wrenching fade-out. At 6-0, we the fans had to endure story after story about their boy wonder coach and the team's heart and blah blah blah. Then they lost 3 straight, and it was pretty bad, but they still had that "we have to make a stand" game left against San Diego. Win, the ship is righted and playoff chances look okay. Lose, the Chargers grab the division lead, and the long, awful slide continues, except this time without hope. Result: 32-3 Chargers. In Denver. A total drubbing.

Meanwhile, the Giants had the same situation against Atlanta. After four losses, they risked falling to .500 and losing their puncher's chance at the NFC East title. They squeaked out an OT win, and now may be poised to shift the momentum entirely. I don't care that Thursday's game is in Denver, I don't care about the short week, and I don't care about the altitude. Both teams are 6-4, but the mental states are diametrically opposed. This will be a walk in the park.

PSS, what's the etiquette about watching a ton of football while on vacation in some place exotic and warm? Since it's the Thanksgiving holiday, it's basically accepted, right? Are people going to make me feel guilty if I'm not on the beach all the time? I like the beach, don't get me wrong, but not as much as your average bear. I love the smell, mostly, and the lulling sound of waves. I love things like breezy early morning jogs on the hard part of the sand near the water. I like body surfing. But roasting in the midday sun on a supposedly 'comfortable' lawn chair gives me a sort of unpleasant, over-heated feeling. It's my Northern Euro blood in revolt. I can take it for short periods, but any more and I risk being incapacitated by sun fatigue.

So, is it cool to veg out and be a sports fan? My girlfriend isn't coming, which I'm sad about, but it also means she won't be there to get annoyed with me. I feel like I have carte blanche to find a television and splay out. And to be fair, my schedule is jam packed:

Thursday: Giants-Falcons at night (do they get NFL network in St. Thomas? PANIC!)
Friday: Bama-Auburn daytime, Duke-UConn night (and maybe some Pitt-WVU as well)
Sunday: Free day! Family, beach, fun! NFL? Hey, if it's there, who knows?!!!
Monday: PATRIOTS-SAINTS. Holy crap, what a game.
Tuesday: Fly home.

Expect me to be disowned by about 2:37pm Saturday.

BONUS THING: Tuesday night, the ACC-Big Ten Showdown Throwdown (or whatever it's called) starts. Duke doesn't play until Wednesday, but UNC takes on Michigan State Tuesday in a rematch of last year's title game. It'll be a good early measuring stick for both clubs, and in a roundabout way it should also tell us even more about this mysterious and enticing Syracuse team, who have looked pretty amazing to date.

Okay. I think that about covers it, my friends. Please get absolutely stuffed on sundry foodstuffs, but don't let the trytophan keep you from enjoying the even vaster athletic feast laid out in high definition. Sportsgiving is here again!

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