Just a quick self-promotional plug: I’ve been blogging up a storm about the Olympics over at ThriveSports.com, writing about curling (the USA stinks so far), speedskating (we also have stunk at this), and skeleton (competition hasn’t started yet). Also did a feature on Kevin Pearce, a former champion snowboarder who suffered a traumatic brain injury five years ago, and whose life was chronicled in the awesome documentary “The Crash Reel.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say that today is a day I wait for for 10 months every year.
As soon as the college basketball season ends in early April, I start looking forward to the first Duke-UNC game of the year.
It’s funny; I’ve tried over the years explaining why this rivalry means so much to me and millions of others, and I never quite can do it.
I’ve said it’s like the Yankees and Red Sox, if they played eight miles apart. I’ve said it’s like Ohio State-Michigan or Packers-Bears, if both teams were in the Top 20 every year and traded national titles all the time, or had fans who shared the same barbershop and grocery stores all year.
But really, it can’t be explained easily. To me it’s the greatest rivalry in sports, and we only get to enjoy it two, maybe three times per year. So tonight I will put on my Duke paraphernalia, think about all the great games in the past, from the last five decades, including Austin Rivers’ amazing game-winner two years ago in Chapel Hill, and forget about the Olympics for a few hours.
If you’re a huge hoops fan, here’s 60 seconds to get you psyched up:
**Just when you think the Boy Scouts of America are ready to stop their bigoted, homophobic ways, they remind you they’re not quite ready to throw away their past.
After the last few years of progress, when they finally, after legal and PR fights that any sane organization would’ve given up decades ago, allowed gay young men to become Scouts, it seemed like things were turning.
But then I read a story like this, from ABCNews.com:
“Pascal Tessier, a high school senior from Kensington, Md., looked up to his older brother Lucien and followed him on the path in Boy Scouting to attain the highest rank of Eagle.
Last night, just nine months after the Boy Scouts of America lifted its longtime ban on admitting openly gay Scouts, 17-year-old Pascal became the first to receive that coveted award at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Md.
But his 21-year-old brother, who is also gay but had to keep his sexuality low key on his path to becoming an Eagle, can no longer participate in Scouting because he is an adult. In a two-tiered policy that began on Jan. 1, the Boy Scouts of America has embraced younger youth who are gay, but not those over 18.”
I mean, seriously??? What a disgraceful organization. If I ever am lucky enough to have a son, you can be damn sure he’ll never be a Scout.
**Finally, there are so many heartwarming stories at the Olympics, but my favorite are usually the ones involving an athlete suffering a major mishap during an event, only to have a coach or athlete from another country come to their aid.
It happens every time there’s an Olympics, and it happened Tuesday in a ski race. Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth was the do-gooder, and Bruce Arthur, the outstanding columnist from Canada’s National Post newspaper, wrote about it beautifully here.