Be Careful What You Wish For

You know how the rest of this saying goes, " because you just might get it."

Here's the story. Remember my nephew. The one who informed me by telephone that he had established me a web site without any prior discussion with me. Well, he has struck again.

He informed me last Friday that he had issued a challenge to Dick Vitale on my behalf to have a free throw "shoot out" at halftime of the Duke-Carolina game in the Dean Dome. Again no prior discussion with me. It's difficult for me to get upset with him because I did mention this as my ultimate fantasy in my article on free throw shooting.

It might have gone unnoticed except for the fact that some posters on Tar Heel Talk, where I occasionally post, picked up on it and have started an e-mail campaign to Vitale, urging him to accept. I don't personally think there is a one-in-a-million chance that the "shoot out" will occur, but I will admit it's exciting to talk about it.

There have been all kinds of responses from my friends to the proposed battle of the freebies. Mrs. RamFanatic made the most painful comment when she learned of the possible contest when she said. "Well, for heaven's sake. You aren't going to go through with it, are you?" Real comforting to hear from someone you thought was on your side. I reminded her that the nephew was from her side of the family, not mine. Another friend really got excited when he heard about it and remarked "that will be as exciting as the basketball game." That might be a bit of an overstatement. I can't figure out whether my friends are excited over the prospect of me being humiliated or if they genuinely want to see Dickie V get thrashed. Take your choice.

One poster on THT says he is working behind the scenes to bring the showdown off between DV and RamFanatic. I haven't told anyone yet that I don't have a ticket, but maybe that can be worked out.

Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you what the proposed stakes are. The loser has to leave the Dean Dome at halftime while the winner can remain. This may take some doing with ESPN, but while we're dreaming, anything is possible. I will have my 2" TV in my pocket just in case.

I haven't started serious workouts yet. Just a little roadwork and breathing exercises. I've been spending right much time on developing the rules. You have to have rules.

Some of them I have developed so far are:

1. Combatants cannot stand within 20 feet of each other while one is shooting.

2. There can be no distractions to the shooter by the combatant not shooting. This includes both visual and audible distractions. 

3. "Shaggers" will be selected at random from the UNC cheerleaders. One for each contestant, preferably female if this not politically incorrect.

4. Shots will be in sets of 5, a total of 10 Overtime will be until one achieves an advantage over the other. Subject to change.

5. Contestants must use the same ball to be provided by the UNC Athletics Department.

6. Each contestant will be allowed 2 warm up shots.

I'm just getting started with the rules. Give me a little time and I will have so many rules, old Dickie won't even understand what he is doing. I thought about having him wear a Duke cap and I would wear a UNC cap, but I decided that was going too far. I'm banking on the anti-Vitale feelings a lot of UNC fans have for DV to manifest itself in profuse cheering for RamFanatic. Wait a minute. That might put more pressure on me so I think I will ask for silence in the Dean Dome while I am shooting. That ought to insure the loudest noise the DD has ever seen.

Before you label me certifiable insane, let me assure you that I labor under no illusion. I fully understand the chances that this contest will take place are slim and none. It is fun, however, to speculate what would happen if it did. Would I freeze? Would I ever be able to recover what little reputation I have as a sane citizen if I were to do it? Would the crowd be for me or Vitale? If Vitale lost, would he demand a rematch?

By the way, I have scouted Vitale and he is a pretty good free throw shooter even though he has only one eye. His partner on the Michigan State-Illinois game commented that he saw Vitale hit 14 consecutive free throws before the game. He frequently takes his shoes off when doing games in the Dean Dome and puts up a few before the game, so he's not a novice at this sort of thing.

The biggest problem I have at the moment is that Leroy, the Tar Heel Terror feels like he is entitled to go since he stuck with me back when I was shooting 100 free throws a day in the driveway. That could be a problem. On second thought, he might be a comfort to me at a time when I need a friend. If I step up to the free throw line in the DD in front of a packed house, I'm sure a new definition will have to be developed for the word " lonely".

I will keep you informed of developments, if any.