Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA Liveblog 9: A Scoreboard story

All the games are blowouts right now -- if you picked Pitt, Purdue and UNLV, good for you -- so I'm going to tell my favorite tournament story. I think I've told this one before, but this is the right time for it.

There used to be a great sports bar called the Scoreboard out on Independence Boulevard. One year I had some friends in town and we went over to watch the tournament. This happened to be 1992 and the game we sat down to watch happened to be Duke-Kentucky.

Basketball fans will recognize this as one of the greatest games of all time.

I was in the rare position of hating both teams, but I had to root for someone, so I went with my SEC roots and picked Kentucky. This put me in the minority because about 80 percent of the people in the bar were rabid Duke fans. (Most of the rest were rabid Carolina fans who of course rooted for Kentucky to win and the Duke players to be swallowed up by a hole in the floor.)

There was one Duke fan who was especially obnoxious. Every time Duke made a good play he would turn to us and scream creative four-letter words, often accompanied by one-finger gestures. Just a class act all around.

Toward the end of the game, Duke went ahead and there was a timeout and this guy did a victory lap inside the Scoreboard, flipping off us Kentucky fans along the way.

So now we're late in overtime -- it's clear now that this is a FANTASTIC game -- and a Kentucky player throws in an off-balance prayer to put Kentucky in the lead with 2.1 seconds left. I am now the biggest Kentucky fan in the world. All of us newly minted Kentucky fans are taunting this guy, and he is devastated. He puts his head down for a second. And then he walks out of the bar.

Let me repeat: He walks out of the bar.

You might have heard what happened next.

Grant Hill threw the long baseball pass to Christian Laettner, and Laettner turned and jumped, and he buried the jumper at the buzzer to win the greatest game of all time for Duke.

The obnoxious guy never saw it.

I always wonder how he found out what happened. Maybe he walked out of the bar and decided to shun sports and bought a ticket to Tanzania and became a missionary. Maybe to this day he still doesn't know that Duke won.

One can only hope.


Anonymous said...

Aaaaaaahhh! The Scoreboard.

I miss the Scoreboard.

Cedar Posts said...

Guys like the "rabid duke fan" are the reason the Scoreboard stopped drawing crowds.

Or maybe because my 52" flat screen and lack of a smoke filled room makes even a Duke game fun!

Great tale and worth repeating.