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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it marks the birthday of my favorite sweatshirt—the one I bought at the Duck Shop in Durham, NC when I was a junior in high school, which was 14 years ago. It’s a little shocking to me that it’s been that long; it seems like just yesterday that I was becoming a Duke basketball fan.

I’ve already told you the story of how I met Freshman Roomie, but let me tell you how she converted me to be a Duke Basketball Fan. Basically, she took me to a game in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This was back in the mid-90s, when you could still occasionally purchase tickets to a Duke game without being a multi-thousand dollar donor to the Iron Dukes. We had tickets for games around the Thanksgiving holiday, when the students would be out of town. That trip was mostly uneventful—it wasn’t until the next year that my obsession reached fever pitch, so I mostly just became interested in the university*.

That year, I also went to Freshman Roomie’s UNC vs Duke party in March, and watched us lose to Arkansas in the National Championship game (and was super-pissed that my boyfriend was cheering for Arkansas, no matter that he was from that state). All the other girls had their assigned players. Freshman Roomie loved Cherokee Parks. GinerG, her wild cheerleader friend, loved CHRIS COLLINS!!!!** I didn’t have an assigned player because it seemed like all the good ones were taken. That would change as the next season approached.

Freshman Roomie was such a fan that she actually subscribed to a magazine with scouting reports and such about the team. (I don’t even do that now!) That summer, she noticed a new player, one Steven Wojociechowski, who would be a freshman at Duke in the fall. She suggested that he become my favorite. (Read: Freshman Roomie assigned me this random kid we’d never seen play to be my favorite.)

I shrugged and accepted my assigned player. I really wanted Greg Newton, but one of the other girls had already claimed him. Looking at this through the lens of 14 years, boy did I luck out! The picture in the scouting magazine did not do this boy justice. He was adorable and scrappy, and the first time I saw him play, I was truly, madly, deeply in love with him***.

Senior year, we again went to a game during the Thanksgiving holiday, and also during the students’ winter break. We stood outside after the games so we could hopefully meet the players and take pictures with them. At the first game, I met Wojo, and I still have the picture of the two of us together. (Maybe I’ll scan it over Thanksgiving and post it.) By the time we came back for the second game, I was all a-twitter about this complete stranger. I even had plans to ask him to the prom. (I am SO glad that we somehow missed him and I did not have the chance. This time, we met Coach K and I actually really love the picture that resulted from that meeting.)

So that is the story of how I went from clueless about Duke and basketball (up until the time I visited, I thought Duke was in New Jersey**** and that was probably why my dad was having so much trouble getting me interested) to a full-fledged Cameron Crazie. It was all by luck and peer pressure, and it is sometimes amazing to me that my life’s course was forever altered by one silly basketball game.


*When I got home and told my dad I wanted to go to Duke, he was so mad. He’d been trying to get me interested in it for years, and one weekend with Freshman Roomie had me convinced.

**I cannot express, in print, how enthusiastic this girl was about CC. But I can tell you that she stole a paper Gatorade cup from under the Duke bench because she was convinced it was his, and built a shrine to it in her bedroom.

***I maybe still kinda am… The other night at the game, he was wearing a navy suit with a pink tie. OOOOH the new hottness! (Yes, I know that’s not spelled right. He’s so hott he needs an extra T!)

****This is especially comical if you know anything about the Duke stereotypes.


Sorry, DUMB.  Cal is my new favorite marching band.  (From Deadspin.)

I think my love-hate relationship with my alma mater is well-documented. Last night, as I hinted in my book journal, I had the amazing privelege of getting to attend a Duke basketball game. Not only that, but our seats were incredible–at center court, between the Duke and New Mexico State benches, and right behind the scorer’s table. Basically, I was a few feet away from all the players as they checked in to play. There was only one thing that could detract from our good time… We were sitting right in front of several Typical Duke Students.

Let me just say that when I was a Duke student, I was really offended by the stereotypes about Duke students–that they all drove BMWs and were from New Jersey. (I didn’t have a car and was from South Carolina. And none of my friends drove fit the stereotype either.) At the same time, I recognized that there was a very visible, very vocal minority on whom that stereotype was based. In my current job, I interview (and sometimes hire) a LOT of Duke students. And I can tell you, that the entitlement and the snobbery of Duke students has increased by several thousand percent in the past 10ish years. Even those from less priveleged backgrounds take on this air of entitlement and become absolutely insufferable.

So, this is what I mean when I say I was sitting in front of the Typical Duke Students. They were constantly hurling insults at the New Mexico State players, their coach, and the referees. They were just being general assholes, but since most of the players and the coach from NMSU were black, many of their insults were thinly (and sometimes not-so-thinly) veiled racist epithets that I cannot even bear to write here*. Even the men sitting at the scorer’s table–the men who operate the clock, communicate with the TV trucks, keep stats, and announce the game, who have worked these games for years and years–kept turning around and looking at the guys, hoping they would just shut the hell up.

Now, Cameron Indoor Stadium is known as a hostile environment for other teams and the Cameron Crazies are famous for their witty insults. And I know that’s what these guys thought they were doing (they were clearly amused and satisfied by their performance). But every time they opened their mouths, I could feel my blood pressure rise. I tried to ignore them–I didn’t want these little jerks to ruin my enjoyment of the game–but during timeouts, I found myself seething and imagining ways to tell them off. Finally, I came up with the best one–it was so good, I didn’t even need to say it out loud–and after that, I was satisfied and amused by myself, too.

It was, you guessed it, “YOU PUT THE DOUCHE IN DUKE!”

I think this little insult will come in very handy. I can use it any time I attend a Duke Basketball game, or when the bratty Duke students cut in line in front of me at the Target, or even whenever I see someone parking their SUV with a Duke sticker sideways in two compact car spaces. Oh yes, I think this is such an inspired bit of word play that maybe I won’t even mind having to put up with the douche-y Duke students from now on…


*They did have one very funny insult. One of the guys on the NMSU team had dreds, and when he was shooting free throws, they started chanting, “Where’s your bobsled?” In doing so, they referenced what is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of American cinema.

Grr, stupid Time Warner Cable/Internet, being out on Saturday so I couldn’t post. 😦 But here’s what I would have written, had I been able to post!


Today I spent the afternoon doing something that I’ve been doing, off and on, since the fall of 1995. Getting my hopes raised and then dashed, dramatically, by Duke Football. Despite the fact that I’ve seen the team win less than 10 games in 12 years (they’ve won a few more than that, but I haven’t been there), I still love Duke Football. Every game is exciting, at least for a little while. And there are so many hilarious stories from my undergrad that come to mind during every game.

For instance, today we played Georgia Tech. When I was a senior, and drum major of the marching band, we traveled to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech game. Because I was drum major, and because of the way the stands are built at Tech, I had to stand on the sidelines. The Yellow Jacket mascot and the Blue Devil mascot were nearby fighting with waterguns, and trying to catch us in the crossfire. Then, the Yellow Jacket came over and tried to take my folio of songs–the one I would hold up to tell the rest of the band what to play next. I yanked it back, and then started swatting him with it, repeatedly, until he ran away. That’s a pretty good memory.

Last week, we played Clemson, and that one comes with an even better story. I think it was junior year in college, and we were playing Clemson at home. It was almost halftime, and the entire marching band (I wasn’t yet drum major), was standing on the sideline waiting to go on the field. We were standing in a big clump, and nearby, the Clemson cheerleaders’ flags (the giant ones that spelled out C-L-E-M-S-tigerpaw-N) were lying on the ground, unattended.

One of the band members came up with the brilliant idea that if we all just moved a little closer, we’d be able to take one of the flags off the pole and steal it. (We were big on stealing rival teams’ flags. We had one from Wake Forest. We also stole a padded chair from Illinois and the Kentucky flag, and several ESPN banners over the course of my time in DUMB*.) We were able to pull one of the flags into the group, pull it off the pole, and then slide the pole back into the pile, and covered it up. Now, we had the flag, but we were about to go on the field for our halftime show. What were we going to do with it?

Well, our band president grabbed it, and started stuffing it inside his uniform jacket. It made him unnaturally puffy, and you could see an orange tint through the white parts of his jacket. But we were counting on the fact that no one was really paying attention to us, and it paid off. After we marched off the field, we surrounded the band president while he removed the flag from his jacket and stuffed it into a hatbox. Then we had one of our esteemed alumnae (who was attending Duke Law at the time) come get the box and take it to her car, outside the stadium. We thought we’d gotten away with it.

And we almost did. Our football team pulled off an amazing feat–holding Clemson scoreless (and thus, no flag waving) until about 3 minutes before the end of the game. When the cheerleaders picked up the flags, they were shocked to find one missing. Our band broke out in cheers. In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have done that, because we were immediately BUSTED! We had to retrieve the flag and return it, sadly. But it was still one of my most fun memories of Duke Football.


*DUMB=Duke University Marching Band. Coolest acronym ever, right?

Apparently, yesterday, someone found my blog by searching for “Ivory Latta’s Tears of Pain.” That is about the coolest way possible I could think of for someone to find me.

Listen, person searching for “Ivory Latta’s Tears of Pain”, I don’t know who you are, but I think we could be friends. I hope you come back. Leave me a comment! 🙂

So, as I’ve said before, I have had a crazy crush on one “Lil’ Piece of Freckled Perfection” since I was in grad skool. I mean, crazy, love-knows-know-bounds, if-i-had-a-slightly-less-firm-grip-on-reality-i-might-be-his-stalker kind of crush. Like, up until about 2 years ago, I wanted to own a pair of Jack Russell Terriers* and name them Major and Wojo**.

And I was already saddened by the fact that he was not going to be making an appearance in Wally Wade this fall (which I had been salivating over since, oh, last October–or really whenever it was that he was hired at Bama), because the home-and-home series with Bama is not immediate–it’s probably going to happen in 2009. (We are SO awesome at planning our schedule, I tell ya…) I had staked a lot of hope on that meeting, though now I suppose it’s all for the best…

Because today, I came to the saddest realization of all. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this before. The only way to explain it is sheer denial. (I mean seriously, look at my nickname for him. Obviously, I knew, but I didn’t know. You know?) But thanks to the kind folks over at Loser With Socks, I have been smacked in the face with the TRUTH. Major Applewhite, my little piece of freckled perfection, is a GINGER. HOLY CRAP. Yes, he is a GINGER. This is totally Karma*** for all those times I’ve made fun of Ginger kids at the mall, and especially the time I tried to surreptitiously shove one in front of a moving car at a small-town parade****. It’s payback for all the times my brother and I have poked fun at our cousin’s baby and for the time I yelled out “DON’T LET IT LOOK YOU IN THE EYES!!!” and ran away from one at the Farmer’s Market*****. This is what I get for being such an asshole.


*That is, until I realized that they would tear me limb-from-limb the first time I tried to sleep in past 5AM. Seriously, those dogs are kinda psycho.

**Who, by the by, I saw at the press conference for Coach P on Friday. He was wearing a blue UnderArmor-type shirt. It was HOTT.

***Yeah, I watch Carson Daly, too.

****Ok, I didn’t really do this.

*****I totally did this. Last weekend. By the way, did I mention I’m 30?

So, as I’m pretty sure I’ve said before (and multiple times, at that), I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my alma mater for oh, ten years now.  This weekend was not only my 30th birthday, but also Duke Reunion Weekend, in which the class 1997 (among others) descended on the campus to party like it’s 1999 (or in this case, more like 1995).  I have to say, of all the Duke graduating classes I have known, 1997 has got to be my favorite.  I even attended their 5-year reunion (and not my own, two years later).  Considering the fact that I developed Senioritis along with this crew, my undergraduate experience understandably went downhill after they graduated.  So this weekend, I got a little reminder of why I love Duke.

Friday afternoon resulted in a call from my friend E, berating me for missing the sorority dinner on Saturday night.  (The Parental Units feat. Bubba were in town for my birthday, and I couldn’t pass up all the free stuff that was sure to ensue.)  “But you’re in my club!” she said.  “Wha?” I so intelligently responded.  “The club of people who have dated guys who went on to marry one of our sisters!  And who are also attending the dinner!”  “Oh yeah, and let me tell you, I am so sad that I will not get to sit across from J and A* at the dinner.”  “But when I signed up for this, in my head, you were in my club, and I was not alone!”  Well, at least she had a boyfriend tagalong–I did not have such a luxury.  At any rate, we decided that, if nothing else, we would get some drinks Saturday night after the ‘rents left town.

So, when Saturday night rolled around, I was excited to meet them at the James Joyce downtown.  I grabbed a beer and we sat outside on the patio while we waited for various other sorors to arrive.  Some were at a fancy gala on campus, but E had attended the one for her 5th year reunion, and it had been, in the words of Eric Cartman, hella lame.  The ultimate plan was for everyone to meet up at Honey’s, a local establishment that hosted many a late night of studying and/or sobering up.  (Oh yes, it is just as classy a joint as you can imagine.)  Apparently, I was the person who instigated this plan by mentioning it to city hostess extraordinaire, C.  And boy, am I glad I mentioned it off-hand, because that was good times.

C and I arrived just ahead of the rest of the crew, which was rolling about 12 deep.  The waitresses looked a little exasperated when we mentioned that number, but set us up at a nice long table that made the whole event seem like an elegant banquet, except for the sticky tables and pervasive scent of grease and cigarette smoke that is the hallmark of this esteemed establishment.  (But seriously, Honey’s rocks hard core.)  By the time everyone got there and got in place, I was seated across from E, near J and A, and next to D, the most brilliant person to ever become best known for puking.  We all laughed so hard about the good times we had in college (except for maybe J and A, who didn’t know me very well in the early days of my college career, and that was mostly what we discussed).  Most of the conversation revolved around the ill-fated trip to Orlando my freshman year (including the Boot and Hollar episode) and the Purple Jenga party.  Ooooh, the Purple Jenga party.  So not a good idea.  In essence, we mixed up a bunch of PJ and wrote crazy stuff on the bottom of Jenga pieces.  (Every time you pulled out a piece, you had to do what was on it:  Cornholio and chug, paddywagon**, and hold your left neighbor’s crotch were some of the favorite punishments.  If the tower fell, you had to finish your drink.)  Then we invited a whole bunch of people over, and the best part was, school was out so there were no po-po to bust up the fun.  Highlights of the party included Mezcal (mmm, alcoholic bbq sauce), E trying to convert everyone to Catholicism, me getting handcuffed to someone named “Love Socks”, and E telling D that he took up 90% of her brain.  (This was because we had just heard some statistic that you only use 10% of your brain.  She was trying to say he resided in the part of her brain that she never used, but came off sounding like she was completely obsessed with him.)

After that side of the table calmed down, I was able to talk to some of my other sisters, S, M, and C, who I have missed so much.  Sometime around 1am, the group serenaded me for my birthday, and the random other patrons clapped for me.  It was a nice night, and broke up way too quickly, at about 1:30.  Sigh.

Sunday remained awesome, despite the rain, because I got to go with J, my fake SSSE***, to the Women’s Basketball Banquet.  I was a little hesitant to attend after Coach G left, but I wanted to support the girls and let them know we’d stand behind them in the future.  From that event came one of my favorite quotes:  “We wish her many wins at Texas, but never against Duke!” which is what President Brodhead said in his farewell speech.  There was also a video from Coach G, who was in Italy coaching the US Women’s Team.  It was very apparent that they had to stop the camera several times and edit her speech in pieces because she kept crying.  Which made me feel a little better, but also caused me to lean over th J and say, “I know from experience–if you’re crying that hard about leaving a job, you’re making a big mistake.”****

So, yeah, all in all, a good weekend, and it left me with lots of warm fuzzies about my alma mater.  Let’s see how long it takes to squander them…

*I love J and A, but still.  It’s awkward.

**Everyone else playing the game lines up with their feet shoulder-width apart.  The person who drew the Paddywagon piece must crawl through everyone’s legs as all the people standing reach over and smack the crawling person on the ass.  If you’re really mean, you try to catch the crawler between your legs so that you can smack them for longer.

***Same Sex Spousal Equivalent–pretty appropriate considering the event.

****Hello, this is the whole reason I was throwing crap in a suitcase minutes before leaving Santa Barbara.  I couldn’t be alone in my apartment for more than 10 minutes without sobbing uncontrollably.

OOH!  OOH!!  OOH!!!  I just remembered one of the most hilarious parts of the night.  So, J and A had just finished telling us that they were in the process of adopting a baby from China.  The following conversation ensued:
E:  So, you’re going to have a cute little Chinese baby?
A:  (totally deadpan)  No, actually, it will be Black.
Me:  (in my head)  Really?  (mind racing, trying to remember if there would be any reason for a plethora of Black babies in China)
E:  all squeaky-likeREALLY??
Everyone else:  (hysterical laughter)

…is not Christmas. It’s March Madness, for which we are really starting to gear up. I can hardly wait!!!

More inspirational goodness in preparation for tonight’s showdown can be found in this article!

With this being the “money” quote:

With Latta, virtually everyone who watches women’s hoops has an opinion of whether she’s passionate/exciting/irrepressible or annoying/really annoying/incredibly annoying.

(Uh, hello, incredibly annoying!!)

And over on DBR, the MulletMan is running this (non-monetary) pool:

I find her shtick extremely tired. How many times can a person get knocked out of a game only to make a miraculous recovery?

I shall set the line… pick a before or after for each…

1. Knocked to the floor in a heap without cause when she gets picked – 11:00 mark 1st half

2. Removed from the game with the help of at least 1, if not 2 teammates – 13:00 mark of the second half

3. Returns to game gimpy during non-play, but amazingly agile and fleet-footed during play – 11:20 mark second half

Have at it.

And finally, a comment I made last night that I think is totally worth sharing here (if I do say so myself!):

(Upon seeing that Tyler Hansbrough returned to the game after the half with a band-aid on his forehead, even though his injury had occurred long before the break…)
“Aww… Did Tywer need a band-aid for his booboo? Well, if that had been Ivory Latta, we’d still be in time-out, watching her writhe on the floor in pain.”


Hi, my name is CandyButtons, and I’m a sports-o-holic. And I’m a Duke fan. Because of that, I have some things to share…

Just to get everyone psyched up for tomorrow, here’s a cute article on the Waner girls:

And in case you’re not yet psyched up for tonight, posters almost as good as the ones on Despair

Oh, and then there’s this!

And then there’s the fact that everyone over at the Duke Basketball Report has started referring to Carolina as “Carowina” (pronounced Ka-row-WHINE-uh, not Ka-row-WIN-uh, as they were quick to point out over there). Very appropriate I think.

OMG, two Carolina games back-to-back… I don’t know if I can handle the excitement!!!


In order to help me achieve #1a*, I have ordered one of the new (2nd generation) iPod shuffles. And because I totally heart technology**, I am very impatient about receiving my new toy. So I’ve been obsessively checking the USPS package tracker on Amazon. (Good thing I didn’t list “stop obsessing over little things” as one of my resolutions.)

Apparently, my order left Greensboro, NC on December 31, and the estimated arrival is January 10. Ok, people. I live in Durham, NC. So you’re telling me that it takes 10 days to transport .55 oz of pure joy 55 miles? Seriously? I finished a marathon in 7:28. I could walk to Greensboro and back before January 10.

Though calling it “.55 oz of pure joy” made me start thinking of what to name it when it finally gets here. I think I’m going to have to rename my other iPod, too. It’s one of the original click-wheel only varieties, so it’s a big ‘un. I’m thinking of Big Mama or maybe even Large Marge (to pay homage to OMGthebesteffingmovieever). Ok, I just decided. Large Marge it is. But for the new baby? I was originally thinking “Mini-Me” but that seemed too obvious. Then I thought, what about “Little Piece of Techno Perfection”? It’s been a long time since I named something like that.***

Well, we’ll see. Apparently, I’ve got 6 more days to ponder. Ooh, it’s after five. I think I’ll go hit “refresh.”


*And with the help of a handful of Amazon gift certificates from the relatives–thanks Aunt S and the Northern Ls!

**I love technology, but not as much as you, you see, but I still love technology…

***The others being “My Little Piece of Polish Perfection“**** and “My Little Piece of Freckled Perfection.” Yeah, I’ve got issues. I know.

****Incidentally, I got caught staring at My Little Piece of Polish Perfection’s ass while in Cameron back in November. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed about that. Again, issues. I know.