This past weekend, David and I were lucky enough to be invited by friends to attend every session of the ACC tournament. David went to the day and evening sessions on Thursday and Friday. I went to the evening sessions on Thursday and Friday and the semi-finals on Saturday. We passed on attending the finals on Sunday, which turned out to be a good thing, since North Carolina lost to Duke. This brings me to my first lesson learned:
1. Some Duke fans really are as obnoxious as you would expect them to be. This includes the family that sat behind us that told one of our friends to sit down during a timeout when North Carolina was playing. Are you kidding me? You are at a basketball game, people. It was an exciting game and Duke wasn’t even playing. This includes the Duke fan sitting in front of us who felt the need to turn around and interject his opinion in our conversations during the semi-final games. This also includes the old man sitting several rows down from us, who didn’t like the fact that we were laughing at the Plumlees (What are they good for? Ten fouls, is what I said.) or point out the frequency with which Kyle Singler uses his elbows (pretty much the only way that kid plays defense at all). He turned around to talk smack and attack us personally during the Maryland, but the joke was on him because clearly, we couldn’t careless about Maryland nor did we care that a Duke fan took things personally that weren’t targeted at him.
2. Gary Williams is crazy: This probably won’t come as any shock to seasoned Maryland fans. We moved down to sit close behind the Maryland bench during the NC State/Maryland game, and that Gary Williams has a potty mouth. Conversely from what you would expect, he gets angrier and angrier the more points his team is ahead. He takes out his anger on the bench, and most consistently, one specific, poor assistant coach, who just sits down quietly and jots notes during Gary’s crazy outbursts.
3. Mascots are terrible basketball players. We learned this during the halftime of one of the semi-final games. Who is the girl with the ball? That was Florida State’s representative because apparently, the Seminole wasn’t there. Nice to see that FSU’s substitute is a scantily clad coed. That seems about right as what would represent the university.
4. College Basketball provides dramatic finishes that are simply non-replicable in Hollywood: Observe the two pictures above of the Virginia Tech and Florida State teams respectively at the end of their Quarterfinal match-up. With 4.9 sections left, Virginia Tech sunk a basket that gave them the lead for the first time. At the buzzer, Florida State banked one in that would have given them the win. The question was, did the player get the shot off before time ran out? As the refs reviewed the play for five minutes, the two teams stood in agony, hoping for a call that would go their way giving them the win. The basket was ultimately waved off and Virginia Tech won.
5. It is possible that it might not be a North Carolina/Duke game that kills me: Rather, it might be any North Carolina basketball game. The Tar Heels needed two come from behind victories to win in both the Quarterfinals and the Semifinals. Slow starts nearly sunk the team both times. After the semi-final game on Saturday, which resulted in a North Carolina win in overtime, I was thoroughly exhausted and could barely summon the energy to cheer against Duke in the next round. It doesn’t matter that they lost in the final, I love my Heels. If they go out of the NCAA Tournament early, as my solace, at least I will get to return to a normally functioning cardiovascular system. The Semifinal game that we attended was pretty much amazing, though. Sitting there next to my sister, Sarah, she turned to me and said, “You know, Mom just raised us right. We are both sitting here, now working at Carolina. She just did a very good job.” I looked at her and told her that I couldn’t agree more.
We learned other lessons too; like that the Duke Pep Band sounds even worse than a Middle School Jazz Band, and that ACC Refs sometimes enjoy theatrics more than making good calls. In general, a good time was had by all, even if the tournament ended in the worst possible way.