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A Baby Boomer's Perspective on College Basketball

As long as I can remember I've always been a basketball fan. When I was little, my dad would take me to Cleveland, OH to see the Indians play (if you have to ask what sport, this blog posting isn’t for you). My mom went to high school with one of the “original” Cleveland browns—and he would often stop by our home to chat and eat. As I recall, he LOVED to eat!

As a cheerleader in elementary and high school, I took even more of a liking to sports and developed a sincere interest in learning what I was actually cheering about. I’ll never forget the time one of my fellow cheerleaders started yelling:

FIRST AND TEN, DO IT AGAIN, GO MCKINELY BULLDOGS!”

It was actually a THIRD DOWN play. Or the time someone struck up a “Defense” cheer when we actually had the ball. I’ve often thought of teaching a Sports 101 course just for women but that’s another story…

Being from the Midwest, I’ve always been partial to the Big Ten. Besides, a good friend and high school classmate of mine (Phil Hubbard) went on to play for Michigan. He even played for the 1976 Olympics Team. Even though I graduated from a MAC school, my loyalties were still with the Big Ten. And although I lived in New England for several years and saw some of the most exciting basketball ever, my heart was still with the Big Ten.

And then I moved to North Carolina---where the skies are always blue. That's where Duke and Carolina reign and they dare anyone to come into their territory and dethrone them. I immediately developed a disliking for both teams because of what I saw as arrogance and racism. My ex husband used to tell me stories about how Blacks were never permitted to watch Carolina games when he was a little boy. I really don’t know if that’s true because his track record with the “truth” proved not to be too good. But I will say this: I have seen first-hand the special treatment the black athletes receive while the black students on campus are constantly discriminated against. I have also witnessed the special treatment Duke & Carolina seem to get from the referees when they're playing on their respective home courts. And let’s not even talk about the commentators. They are so biased in their analysis, many times I have to turn down the sound just to appreciate the game.

I witnessed such actions last night as my #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes took on #6 ranked Carolina in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. I wanted to believe the game would be played fairly---that OSU would be given the respect of a #1 ranked team. But that was not to be the case. As the game clock ticked away, questionable calls got in the way and NO CALLS became evident. Carolina, as expected, got the win but I tell you, had the game been played in Ohio the outcome would've probably been different. And even if Carolina did win on OSU's home court, I would've felt OK about it because at least I would believe the referees were calling the game fairly.

OK...so here we go...another season of college basketball where I am, once again, the odd woman out in Duke & Carolina’s back yard. But of course, I could always root for NC State or Maryland since their school colors have red in them just like OSU.

And if it’s any consolation, my Ohio State Buckeyes are #1 in Football. Did Duke win a game this year??? And Carolina was also scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Oh well, I’m just a southern fried baby boomer yankee.

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