Duke Game Reflections

The UNC-Duke game was about as good as it gets. Note that I said "about as good" because obviously a Carolina win would have made the drive back to Richmond much shorter. Sure there was some sloppy play at times, but all things considered the game was the epitome of college basketball and fans throughout the country must have looked on with envy. That is, of course, if they had the sound turned down on Dickie Vitale. He could have been gushing about the UNC-Duke rivalry to the point that it was a turn off to fans in other parts of the country. John Chaney, the Temple coach, said that DV couldn't talk for 20 minutes without mentioning Duke. I doubt he could go that long. I don't know who is the most disliked TV announcer in the eyes of Carolina fans, Dick Vitale or Billy Packer.

Some of us were looking forward to an aspect of the game off the floor with some apprehension because we simply did not know how the "fat cats" at sidecourt would react to the blue T shirt thing. I'm sure you saw TV how it went, but in case you missed it, it turned out beautifully. The real test will come at the next home game when we see how many of the recipients of the shirts bother to wear them back to the Smith Center. A couple of things could have been better but nothing is perfect. A boy and girl who looked to be college age had Clemson T shirts on and stood out like a sore thumb, but they were sitting with an elderly gentleman who had a UNC shirt on. Smack dab in the middle of court side too. They were given some good natured ribbing, but I simply don't understand an adult allowing these kids to do this. It's just asking for trouble. There was another boy who had a yellow Duke sweat shirt on, but you could clearly see Carolina garb below the bottom of his shirt. He cheered loudly when the cheer leaders ran with the UNC flag at the crowd so maybe he's one of those new scholarship recipients who attends both Duke and Carolina.

There was an incident after the game that I'm ashamed to say I didn't even see. Apparently a big guy with a retro O.J. Simpson shirt on who sat directly behind the Duke bench had engaged in a running verbal battle with several Carolina fans during the game. They were seated about 5 rows higher up. After the game, according to message board accounts by people who witnessed the whole affair, he went up to the Carolina fans and punched one of them in the face. The person punched was much smaller than the attacker and by all accounts, it was a hard blow. The puncher was handcuffed and led from the Smith Center. I don't know the facts so I am unable to say who was at fault. Usually, the person who strikes the first blow is blamed but there are exceptions. Julius Peppers was seated not too far away and it would have been worth the price of admission to watch if he had gotten involved.

I don't want to go into the officiating because I have finally decided that I am incapable of being unbiased in evaluating officiating. I really don't understand why I have become so critical of officials' treatment of Carolina because I haven't always been this way. It seems like now, at every game, I feel we are not treated fairly and I don't like to be a whiner. How Duke could go for 10 minutes without committing a foul is beyond me and why in the world would Referee Carl Hess huddle with the Duke team and why didn't Coach Williams object? I know that all coaches try to "work" the officials in their own way, but I will never have respect for Coach K because of the flagrant way that he goes about it. And the officials respond so I can't really fault Coach K for doing what he does. He, like the rest of us, does what he can get by with. It's Fred Barakat that I blame and I'm sure he will fix it right away. Yeah, right.

I hope the game and associated activities came across on TV as it it was in person. Much standing by the crowd and much noise. Pep band did a superb rendition of "In My Mind, I'm Going To Carolina." I told Norwood Teague a couple of years ago that I was not going to get off their backs until they starting playing that song again before games. I meant James Taylor's version, but life is full of compromises and I can live with the pep band's version. I now hear there is some friction between our band director and the person who operates the sound system, each wanting more time in the spot light. Oh, how I miss the turf battles that take place at every college and university. I guess it's human nature, but I think it is worse in academic settings because the organizational structures there are so fuzzy. I once had a professor at Duke who agreed to keep sending a check to another professor if the second professor would leave Duke and that is exactly what both did until we discovered it. His check was mailed to him at another university where he had joined their faculty. Now I reminiscing and and that's not particularly good.

Ate some good BBQ before the game at Mama Dips' daughter's restaurant in a shopping center in Carrboro. I can't remember the name of the SC and I had to be given detailed directions on how to get there. Seems like it was Carrboro Plaza. Had fried okra, slaw, and hush puppies with my BBQ sandwich.

I'm not scheduled to attend any more home games this year but, I must say I have seen two ACC classics this year. Wake Forest and Duke both went into overtime, and we could have won both games with a little luck. Things are looking up, and in the next several years I think we will see us emerge victorious in games such as these.