Tessa and I are spending our last few days of pre-baby freedom in debauchery and panache, just the way we like it. This weekend, we all met at the beach to celebrate Chip and Cathie’s wedding, which, to us, was a national holiday:
Storm-chaser Lars Lucier was on the scene as our roving archivist; after 2 hours of touch football (where I shredded my hamstring, thanks), the 70-degree weather turned to rain, and of course, drama:
Sunday, of course, brought the re-match of my beloved Tar Heels against the foul, sniveling, trenchmouthed denizens of Dook University. This was my 20th home Dook game in a row. That’s right, I have been here representing the forces of Good for TWENTY STRAIGHT YEARS. I can’t believe it even as I type it.
At my first Duke game in 1986, my parents were going through a horrific divorce, and basketball came to represent an escape from all that trauma, and eventually it turned into a religion of its own for me. I can’t possibly express how much our hoops team – and the philosophy of Dean Smith – mean to me without alienating half my readership (I know who you are, you bastards), but suffice to say I have crawled here every year through sleet, heat, depression, sickness and insanity.
The problem with vanquishing Evil is that Evil has been winning a lot lately. Nine of the last ten, actually. We decided my Carolina blue turtleneck – worn to the last 16 games – had lost its mojo, and needed replenishing. Lee Coggins ceremoniously resurrected it with ancient sage smoke:
The game was my as-yet-unborn girl’s first Dook experience:
And let’s just say that it ranks up there with all the classic games these two teams have ever played. We were down nine points with three minutes left, and I have to say, I sunk my head into my hands and readied myself for failure. But the Tar Heels rallied, and after a flurry of points, Marvin Williams – the same age I was when I watched my first game in person – completed a 3-point play that put us up by two.
Duke had the ball, and the whole place was electric with anxiety-fueled defense. As they came down the court with 20 seconds left, I put my hand on my lucky unfinished baby and Tessa held it there. They missed; we won. Pandemonium erupts:
And many things are brought back to life: my faith, my humour, and my lucky turtleneck – all shared with two very awesome ladies.