Tuesday, December 9th, 2008...1:54 am
The Curious Case Of The LittyHoops Siblings College Basketball Infatuation
Many of you probably know of my fanatical love for St. John’s Basketball (if not, my post last week on the Johnnies can bring you up to speed). What you probably didn’t know is that growing up I was the second most fervent college basketball fan living at 80 Dickenson Place. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was more in love with anything, and I mean anything, than my big sister Lisa’s love of Duke Basketball.
I’m not sure how this actually happened but Lisa’s childhood was spent worshiping Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill. She had Duke posters, Duke t-shirts and one of those awesome mini-hoops that hang from the top of a door. If they had invented fatheads in the early 90′s she would have had the team set. She watched every game and knew every random fact. Every season, Lisa would hand write individual letters to Coach K and each player on the team. To this day, Duke sends Lisa a package to our house with a schedule, team poster, team catalogue and one of those 8 x 10 team photos. Perhaps one of the zaniest family trips we ever took was to Philadelphia to watch Duke play Temple at the old Spectrum. We somehow had front-row seats (probably because we ordered them on ticket-master the second they were released) and I got Trajan Langdon and Matt Christenson’s autographs for her. Another time in 1991, Duke was playing St. John’s in a meaningless December Big East vs. ACC challenge game. Duke had knocked off St. John’s in the past two NCAA tournaments and although I had barely scratched double digits in existence I knew this game was the most important event in my decade of being. Duke went up big early and despite Malik Sealy putting up over 40 points (and not letting me down) the game was a rout and Lisa started ripping into me. I think I shed more tears that night than all the crying in the rest of my life combined. I didn’t talk to Lisa for the rest of the year. I don’t think we even got our parents involved. I just ignored her for an entire month like I didn’t have a sister – and I vowed to hate Duke basketball for the rest of my life. Final story — Lisa’s Bat Mitzvah was somehow the same night as Duke’s miracle win over Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. In a time before blackberry’s and instant information we were all wondering during the entire part what had happened in the game. Check out my Bat Mitzvah wish to Lisa on camera (greenblatts – now you know where your shout out comes from!).
If you are reading this post through email click on over to the website to get the full effect of the photos and videos to come….
As big a rivalry as I had with Lisa it was nothing compared with the college basketball beef she had with a dude in her grade. Adam Schaeffer was a huge Michigan fan. He was a pretty big sports fan (and overall good dude – prob my favorite kid in her grade) and I think his sister was in school at UM or something. This was during the Fab Five era so being a Michigan fan meant you got to rock those amazing shorts and black socks. Most people remember Webber’s time out technical against UNC but Michigan’s real nemesis was Duke. The Fab Five actually made a name for themselves in an early season OT loss to #1 Duke in their freshman year but. They would then lose that year to Duke in the National Championship game and again the following season. Well, obviously Lisa was going to rub it in to Schaeffer just like she did to me. The resulting creation —
I’m not sure what this is or how she made it or even what to call it. It appears to be a paiper mache two-faced “mask” that represents Duke and Michigan. Descriptive words that come to mind include creepy, disturbing, freighting, bizarre. That is before I tell you that she also included the phrase “Play To Kill” at the top of the mask.
I’m assuming Lisa made this in some kind of middle school art class. This is especially scary. What must herteacher and classmates have thought as she was creating this sculpture one piece of soaked paper after another? Isn’t it the obligation of the teacher to hold one of those emergency parent teacher conferences to warn parents of their child’s ominous behavior. Isn’t this mask thing a tell tale sign that their eldest daughter would one day be breaking up locker room hockey fights in Ottawa and become instant soul mates with Russell Martin (who she met bonded with last weekend!).
I found this mask a few years ago as we were cleaning out our basement and going through our school projects in the basement. At first, I figured I must have created something this sick and bizarre but then I was delighted to realize it was Lisa’s. The mask is especially amazing because I wound up at Michigan and our little sister (yeah, we have one, I even forget sometimes) went to Duke. Lisa grew out of her Duke phase as a teenager so the mask would confuse the crap out of anyone trying to figure out who was the mastermind behind this work of art.
Duke played Michigan at Madison Square Garden last month and I went to the games with Courtney. Courtney isn’t much of a sports fan (although she claims to absorb sports knowledge through osmosis as she oddly often references Mike Pagliarulo) but she does root for Duke basketball. More importantly she took a class with JJ Redick where he donned a coon-skin cap and recited to the class a research paper on his boyhood idol Davy Crockett. At some point, one of us brought up the mask which is now hanging up in my old room in Great Neck. I was going to write about it but didn’t have the time that day and then Michigan was blown out by Duke the next night. It seemed like the mask was bound to get lost without ever getting it’s proper recognition.
Due to quirky scheduling Michigan had another chance to face off against Duke last weekend. This time they put together one of the best looking half’s that I’ve seen in college basketball in awhile and upended the #4 team in the nation for the second time this season. As I watched the game, something happened that hasn’t happened in my last 9 years of watching Michigan basketball – I fell in love with the team. Beilein is everything that Dick Rod isn’t and in his second year as Head Coach he has the team in a great situation. I’ll post a bunch more about Michigan Basketball this season so if you have any questions or thoughts send them my way. If you’re not yet on the bandwagon, watch this cell phone video highlight from Crisler.
Back to the mask though. I’m not sure if Michigan had beat Duke since the mask was mache-ed and perhaps the piece of work even contributed to some kind of Ellerbe-Avery Queen-Josh Moore-DomBomb-graham brown-Amaker curse on Michigan basketball. But that all came to a screeching halt last Saturday.
But if there is one thing this blog post has taught you it should definitely be to PLAY TO KILL.