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“It’s basketball, baby….” Dick Vitale’s kazoo-meets-megaphone voice jumps from the TV and I start smiling. It’s time for my Blue Devils to play ball. After a couple of rough games at the end of the season, they showed real depth in the ACC championship.

As that final game progressed, with Carolina playing like they were saving it for the next couple of weeks, I started reading some of the messages and wall posts on FaceBook. Every aspect of the Blue Devils and the game got trashed — their abilities, their looks (????), their honesty and the refs…. Now I can smack talk with the best of them (OK, I can’t — basically, because it’s really mean), but some of that was a little over the line.

It’s not like I’m unused to it — believe me, loving the “Dookies,” breeds a certain amount of armor. It can come from nowhere. One can be watching an episode of Glee, Glee, when a character sits down to watch a game and states, “ I hope it’s not the Blue Devils. I hate Duke like I hate the Nazis (4/27/10).”

I should be in bed right now. There’s weekend plans, things that must be done in the AM. But I need to be here. The Blue Devils are on the court. If my boys lose, sadness — triumph, jubilation.

Though I cherish watching in the late night when I have to muffle my cheers and swallow my despair, I’ve watched many, many games with those who actively loathe my darlings. Beginning with my mom — who thought the Tarheels hung the moon. You see, growing up on Tobacco Road, you picked your blue early. Light blue meant the Tarheels, while the true dark blue showed your Duke allegiance. There were a few reds and golds as some people actually chose to be fans of State or Wake, not that there’s a problem with that. And in my childhood, the ACC teams from out of state were as exotic as the pampas we studied in Social Studies.

I started watching as a little girl. If I remember, the year I discovered basketball, that is to say Duke basketball was the last year Bill Foster coached at Duke. And then with Coach K, came the team that I adored: Gminski, Spanarkel, Bender, Denard & Banks. In Greensboro, we were so lucky because the conference championship was always at our Coliseum. Back in those days, the boys chosen to be ball boys owned the school in the weeks afterward, especially if they’d managed to score any swag or if we’d seen them on TV. And yes, our teachers brought televisions into our classes during the tourney. Hey, they wanted to watch as well. I read everything about the team — some girls had Shaun Cassidy, or Leif Garrett — me, I had five boys to worship, and they came to my town every year!

The second half has started — for the past couple of years Duke has done this lull thing to start up after halftime. I don’t think they mean to, they just ease off their game. Of course, the test comes to see if they can rally from whatever hole they’ve created….. realizing that should Duke lose, I’m forced to cheer for Carolina in a bid to salvage ACC pride 🙂

So, wish me luck, watch some bball, and I’ll see you in the AM!

Blue songs:
Sweet Caroline (Dave Matthews’ version) while the original is lovely, and Dave Matthews is my personal favoritealthough Mr. Allred, my 6th grade social studies teacher’s husband made me love the song)
Take Me Back To My Old Carolina Home (Uncle Dave Macon & His Fruit Jar Drinkers) — OK, I think I like this old song because of the band’s name
My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time (Les Brown & His Orchestra Feat. Doris Day) — one of those happy, hopeful songs that always seems like something is beginning
Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder) — another happy go lucky, make-you-groove song, but the name is providential
Blue Sky (Emily West) — laid back paean to that home sky
Fight Blue Devils Fight (Duke pep band) — total geek out that I love this song….
Blue Skies Again (Jessica Lea Mayfield) — driving rhythm makes this song a breakout
Light Blue/Rhythm-a-ning (Andy Summers) — former Police member, is such awesome jazzman
Blue Ridge Mountains (Fleet Foxes) — the defining edges of my childhood world
Angel in Blue (J. Geils Band) — I remember dancing to this at block parties down in Durham
Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan) — in my mind, the tangle is a tousled mess of sky darkened with rain
Rhapsody In Blue (Glenn Miller) — one of the best songs ever created
Carolina In the Morning (Dean Martin) — doesn’t this just make you happy?
The Winner Takes It All (ABBA) — this reminds me of those shots after the “big” win of the other team — I really don’t like those shots….
Find My Way Home (None Of The Above) — another driving back to NC song, from an awesome bluegrass band
• Abracadabra (Steve Miller Band) — for some reason, lots of college bands know this one
Raised Up Family (James Taylor) — love the “take me on back to Raleigh, NC..”
Carolina In My Mind (JT with Carole King) — the live album just makes this
Greensboro Blues (Bruce Piephoff) — fantastic song, that just calls up home
• Carolina Shout (Branford Marsalis) — old ragtime, reinterpreted by a new Master….
Hungry Like The Wolf (Duran Duran) — do you think the band knows there’s a whole section of the country that can’t hear this song without visualizing Jim Valvano & the 1983 “Heart Attack Pack”?
Won’t Go Home Without You (Maroon 5) — I love that camera shot when the sports reporters show you the team coming home, getting off the bus & win or lose someone is there to meet them…

With accomplishments comes confidence and with confidence comes belief. It has to be in that order. –> Mike Krzyzewski

Take care,
Aly

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