I watched ESPNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fab 5 Documentary the night before I left for vacation and very much enjoyed it, lamenting the fact that I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have time to weigh in on Jalen RoseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments about Duke. Considering the instant-gratification Twitter-borne sports culture we live in, I assumed that by the time I got back a week later, it would be a non-issue.
It was to my surprise when I got back that it was even more a topic than it had been before I left. I still need a late pass, since the approaching baseball season has sucked up a lot of my time since then, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still on my mind.
Four years ago, following Duke basketballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s weakest season since I enrolled there in 1997, my dad and I got really excited about the potential of the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s incoming freshman class.
In late 2007, right after my second marathon, my dad — who isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really a sports fan, but got into Duke basketball when I started there — surprised me with Beckett-graded basketball cards he had won on eBay of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Taylor King in McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s All-American jerseys. We arranged the cards under the glass of my coffee table with some other Duke cards weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve collected over the years, a sort of makeshift micro-Hall of Fame.
And we began to follow their careers together.
I’ll be honest, I never fully understood the concept of a vacation.
The NCAA Tournament starts this week, and you know where I’ll be?
Cozumel, Mexico, until very late on Saturday.
I have no idea if I’ll have television access to the tournament there, and I’m not bringing a laptop.
And that’s absolutely fine with me.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never forget this: Back in 2002, my first year home from college, I had this running route I liked that took me through six towns in North Jersey. That winter, on one of those runs, I passed a mid-60Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s gentleman in a St. AnthonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s varsity jacket, and I stopped to talk to him.
The man told me that though he hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t attended St. AnthonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, he had become a fan of their style of play over the years. He described how it was crisper and more precise than anyone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. He said he tried to make it to as many games as he could, and I vowed to him IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d check it out sometime.
At that time, basically all I knew about St. AnthonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s was Bobby Hurley had gone there, and his dad coached there. And I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know a thing about Bob other than he was BobbyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father.
Obviously, I had a lot to learn.
It obviously didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work out like this, but even though I went to Duke, I was pretty sure I was going to pass on this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nike Duke edition Kobe sneakers.