Vol. 10, No. 12

March 21-27, 2002

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Hoops and Terps: Our Rite of Spring

In this space today, we could recommend priorities for the General Assembly’s budget negotiations.

We could write something preachy about preserving land, or we could dispense perhaps the biggest snooze pill of them all: an editorial on sustainability.

But as grandmother used to advise: “Let’s don’t and say we did.”

After all, what’s more compelling in Chesapeake Country just now than the NCAA college basketball tournament and the hopes of the Maryland Terrapins?

There are more than enough uplifting stories here to drive away the winter doldrums.

First, there’s the opportunity for Maryland to win its first national championship. Don’t let your expectations get away from you, of course, because there are several very good teams remaining from the original field of 64 left in the remaining 16 teams.

There’s the fact that this Maryland squad is, by all appearances, comprised of a decent bunch of fellows rather than the arrogant, “me-first” sorts that populate sports these days.

One player in particular, Juan Dixon, has overcome both his relatively small size and a nightmarish childhood (his parents both died of AIDS) to become a first-team All-America. That honor went to just five players.

Dixon’s tale of conquering adversity offers a lesson for all of us who whine about what we must endure each day.

Then there’s the coach, Maryland alum Gary Williams, who worked his way up from the lowest ranks of coaching and left a similar job at another university (Ohio State) to come home.

The tenacious, sweating Williams has delivered a program once awash in scandal and failure to the brink of the highest success.

We could grumble about the commercialism of college sports: about closing Cole Fieldhouse to build a cookie-cutter arena so as to sell more tickets; about not sharing the millions in proceeds with the players, very few of whom cash in at the professional level.

But we’ll save those rants for another day. For now, we’re content to lounge aimlessly on the couch like one of our cats as we watch this basketball on TV.

And if it takes a few more days of skipping chores and Maryland needs our cheers, we’ll do it and say we didn’t.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly