Totally unrelated: why doesn't anybody ever respond on facebook anymore?
Today we're going to be largely focused on ACC basketball. In response to Maryland's Beat Duke Week, It's FMW here at Seth Curry Saves Duke!, with the M standing for Maryland and the W for Week. One of the sad realities here at J-School is that one of the other students happens to be a Maryland grad. That's bad enough, but making it worse is that he's a good guy, a Brooklyn native and a Yankee fan, and happens to be one of my best friends here. So far we've been able to exchange light-hearted jests about the rivalry and leave it at that, but last night he sent me a g-chat:
josh: whoa duke md this week!
me: fuck yes
josh: we must watch
Luckily he had to leave to catch a bus right after, and I wasn't forced to respond. Because: does he know what he's getting into?? I mean, he should. We watched the Yankees throughout the playoffs together, and he had a front row seat to my emotional "variability" in situations of high stress. He knows I'm fully capable of saying a 20-word sentence without a single non-expletive. And he wants to watch a game with me where we're rooting for different teams?
Still, I'm kind of considering it. But we'll have to watch it at his place, because I know that if Duke loses I will stomp out of his house with the most mumbled goodbye imaginable.
I get a kick out of Maryland fans, though. They're all geared up for this game, but you barely heard a peep from them the first time around. They just assume they're going to lose at Cameron. Against Maryland, Duke is 8-2 in the last 10 games in Cameron, and 5-5 at College Park. So the Terps' brilliant psychological move is to put all their eggs in the home basket. And somehow, I think Duke fans go along with it. If we lose either game, it's horrible, but Maryland gets a free pass at Cameron. If they win, total bonus, but if they lose, no big deal- the home game is all that matters.
Bullshit, Maryland! That's not how things work! The best you can do this year is get a split. All the momentum is on OUR side! Why is nobody listening?!?!
Speaking of having your cake and eating it too, one of the must brutal cheers I've ever heard happened at the UNC-N.C. State game last weekend. It's pretty obvious from the get-go that these teams really hate each other. State has the salt-of-the-earth thing going, and a nice inferiority complex to boot. They're the redneck neighbor with a satellite dish who just know the snooty folks across the way look down on them. And the snooty folks, UNC, pretend not to care, but they take a secret satisfaction in thinking they're better than the redneck neighbor, and get a little thrill telling friends that the old cars in the redneck yard are a total eyesore. The rednecks hate that the snobs act above them ("we matter!"), and the snobs hate that the rednecks are an occasional thorn in their side ("we're better!"). It's a really unhealthy relationship.
I get the sense that at the end of the day, NC State is pretty glad to be themselves, though they'll always have a hatred of UNC and wish they mattered a bit more. UNC, on the other hand, has at least a little Duke envy going on. To continue the metaphor, it's like the snob neighbors keeping one eye on the other rich family farther down the street, trying to become more like them and beat them at the same time. And the relationship is similar in reverse, except the other rich family is from out of town and maddeningly aloof.
So, with all this in mind, UNC's devastating chant at the end of the State game, up 20, was this: "Not our Ri-val! (Clap Clap ClapClapClap) Not our Ri-val!"
You could throw in 18 swear words and a punch in the face, and that chant could not be any more personal. Just perfect, in a really evil classist way.
Hey, here's something weird: in the immediate aftermath of Duke's disastrous three-point shooting fiasco against St. John's, I went about 1-12 from three in an intramural game. It was unbelievable. Do you think Duke cursed me? I've been pretty sick for about ten days now (actual days: four), so that might have had something to do with it, but I like to think I'm so tied in with the team that I go on sympathy slumps. Let me tell you, it sucked. I'm not a great shooter by any means, but I'm usually pretty good. However, no matter how well I'm shooting I don't typically attempt 12 threes in a game. That's absurd.
But it got in my head. I missed a few early on, and it became a matter of pride. The other team kept leaving me wide open (and why wouldn't they?), and even though I felt the temptation to pass off, I tried to shrug off the lack of confidence. "You're a shooter," I told myself. "You're going to get hot." But things went from bad to worse, and I wasn't really ready to admit that to myself. Long story short, we lost by 5. It's basically the only game I can remember actually losing for my team. I've played poorly before, don't get me wrong, but the combination of playing so poorly and selfishly that my team loses is something new altogether.
That, combined with my general negativity after St. John's, has led me to an epiphany: I need to be a nicer fan. Particularly to the Plumlees. They are who they are, and I'm not going to change them, so I should start to be more encouraging. But it's going to be tough. I have a long and illustrious history of hating them. So it's time for one last negative hurrah. Indulge me while I smoke my last metaphorical pack of Plumlee hating cigarettes before quitting cold turkey.
Ten Things the Plumlees Did This Summer Instead of Improving
1. Had day-long cheese-eatin' contests with their friends in Indiana.
3. Drank too much soda and got hyper
4. Climbed a tree, got way high up, and got so scared a fireman had to get him down (Mason)
5. Bet all his nickels on bullfrog races (Miles)
6. Caught crawdads down by the crick and scared girls with them.
7. Learned a valuable lesson from their father about lying to the mailman (They said it wasn't their dog that bit him. They were just trying to protect the dog. But that doesn't make lying okay.)
8. Discovered some shady polluting tactics by the local saw mill while playing in the culverts. "You're good boys," said the judge later, and their dad bought them some penny candy and mussed their hair playfully.
9. Said "aw, mom!" when she tried to comb their hair before church.
10. Had a brief stint in LA where they perfected their new sitcom, "Plainlee Plumlee."
Man, I'm so glad I got that out of my system.
Okay, time to make fun of UNC: have you guys seen DaggumRoy? It's a fake Roy Williams twitter account, and it's so funny it makes me want to cry. It's written in this weird southern dialect. Here was the tweet that slayed me, right after Harrison Barnes' game-winning three against Miami:
See the gamewonner I drawed up? Kender, get caught mid-air, wiggle, throw er in corner. Feller'll fall down, Harrson a burra 3. Coachin!
I highly recommend a follow.
One more day until Duke-Maryland, and tonight there's a nice appetizer with UNC at Boston College. A great test for the resurgent Heels against a team that can shoot the lights out on a good night. A road win here and I think you have to consider Carolina a legitimate threat to contend for the ACC regular season title, their woeful 3-point shooting notwithstanding. Looking forward to it. See you tomorrow.