back free of monkey


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.


0 thoughts on “back free of monkey

  1. DB

    With 3:30 left and my law school classmate (and Dookie) sitting across from me, asking me if he could take my Carolina hat with him to the bathroom so he could piss on it, all I could think was that if we came back, he would have to eat all the shit he was giving me.
    I thought about being mature after the game was over, but I wasn’t. I held it in from the piss-hat moment until the final horn, then said WHO’S YOUR FUCKING DADDY NOW!?!
    What a great day.
    And Ian, get me that shirt, man! DB

  2. susannah

    my dad went to chapel hill. you should see the clothes i wore as a baby. he made me do it, or he made my mom put them on me anyway. one t shirt read “if god isn’t a tarheel then why is the sky carolina blue?” (shirt also covered in chocolate popsicle in several beach photos). i’m sure i’ll see your girl in the same clothes. as a matter of fact, mine are probably still around the attic somewhere if you guys are at a lack of unc baby gear. highly doubtful.

  3. Tanya

    Hell YEAH. It’s about damn time. And you know what I love the most??? I love the fact that J.J. F’ing Reddick was the one who MISSED the shot that could’ve won the game for those ass-munching motherscratchers. I wonder if he’ll add that to his poetry collection. It’ll fit in nicely with how he copes with the opposing team’s fans’ taunts. (Did anyone else see that ridiculous ESPN special on him?? I nearly threw Caleb’s sippy cup at the damn TV – what a hypocrite!!!)
    And I wish I could’ve seen the rat-bastard K cry on TV, but alas, I had to listen to his sniveling on Woody and Mick’s postgame show.
    Sweet relief. sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

  4. Andy

    Ian, be glad you were at the game and did have to endure the television broadcast. I nearly vommited on the television during Coach K’s American Express commercial. Absolutely disgusting.

  5. Greg

    We spent the last 30 seconds of the game consoling our almost-3-year-old after our screams of ecstacy sent him into a state of shock. It seems that young ears aren’t trained to distinguuish between the sudden screams of celebration and sudden screams of pain. He’s over it now, but just a heads up to the parents-to-be so you don’t screw up your’ns the way we’re screwing up our’ns

  6. brent

    My beautiful wife knew things were getting desperate so with 4 minutes to play she put a “Go Heels” bib on junior. Not bad for a Connecticut gal. That move combined with the tummy rub prior to Connor Barth’s field goal against Miami has taken my obsession with junior to “the dali lahma is born” level.
    The American Express ad caused my eardrums to start bleeding. Please make it stop.

  7. brent

    by the way, the shot of Tessa’s belly should go down as one of the all-time greatest optical illusions. I could have sworn that was a picture of someone in a Carolina blue cap, with a black scarf watching the game. The cretans that came up with the candlestick/two people staring at each other have nothing on you.

  8. chip

    Thanks for setting up the beach weekend…to borrow a phrase from 1986….it was awesome…..a fitting tribute to Sir Loin and the Knights of the Buffet table.
    As for the game, Sean May is God…he should win ACC Player of the Year but probably won’t because too many lazy sportswriters voted for Paul or Redick before yesterday… and finally
    Duke sux and Ferry/Laettner/Collins/Wojo/
    Battier/Dahntay/Redick/Melchoinni swallow

  9. scruggs

    What could have been a nice touch is if Tessa had gone into labor RIGHT THERE. Your young ‘un could have been born right at half court with Roy and Woody assisting. Then she could have been baptized at the Old Well.

  10. Kevin

    AS one of the afore-metioned Duke fans, I would like to say on behalf of all of the Cameron Crazies, that UNC played a hellof a game, and that they deserved the win. Also, if one cares to look back a month or so to my first Duke/UNC related comment, one may see that I did predict a split for the 2 matchups according home turf.

  11. Chad

    Game attenders also missed out on the spectacle of Billy Packer throwing off the mask and frantically cheering for Duke in the game’s final minutes. When we managed to steal it and call timeout, he practically begged the ref for a tie-up, screaming “Arrow, Duke! Arrow, Duke!” Pathetic.
    Glad he got to watch the boys cut down the nets.

  12. suzanne

    “I think the most disappointing losses are always the losses where you feel like you deserved to win. For 36½ minutes, we deserved to win.”
    That was Reddick in a quote taken out of today’s Herald Sun. What a fuckin’ idiot. Except for the few minutes when the momentum swung in Duke’s favor during the second half- I have to say that the Heels deserved to win that game because they outplayed Duke-plain and simple. Reddick’s a cry baby, smug ass and I hope we get another shot to put the smack down on Sunday.

  13. frank

    All these comments about your lucky turtleneck and tickets for 20 years– how did you ever come upon them? Great report on the Dook loss to UNC! Happy times coming with the baby delivery.FRC


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