Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tournament Memories...

If you’re from Tobacco Road the ACC Tournament is part of your culture. About noon on Thursday business tends to come to a stop in North Carolina, especially if big four teams are a part of the afternoon session. During my days in the Parks and Recreation profession, we decided that the opening day of the tournament would be a good time to make sure the TV’s that we used for our various clinics were in proper working condition. In the 10th grade, I was actually frisked by my social studies teacher who suspected that I was carrying a transistor radio. Thankfully, I got it back in time to listen to the end of the Wake Forest – Clemson game. Regardless of who our favorite team is, we all have our special memories of the tournament. I thought I would share a few of mine while we wait for the madness to begin.

1983 – What NC State Alum doesn’t have special memories about the 1983 tournament… has it really been 24 years? The whole weekend… make that month was magical, but the thing that has remained in my mind was one of Terry Gannon’s only career blocked shots… It just happened to be against Ralph Sampson. Coach V was using one of his patented junk defenses to frustrate Sampson and Gannon happened to be in the right place at the right time. Sampson started his shot from the hip and Gannon stuck his hand in and deflected the shot. As the Virginia bench erupted wanting a foul to be called, the referee on the baseline clapped his hands together to indicate a blocked shot. Little did we know that weekend was only the beginning.

1987 – NC State had finished the regular season 6-8 and appeared to be headed to the NIT. After playing three overtime periods in 2 days things did not bode well going into the final against the Heels who were on the verge of going 17-0 in league play. Kelsey Weem’s great D against Kenny Smith allowed the Pack survived the mad scramble at the end of the game to pull out the 68-67 win. I remember watching the game at Ken’s with Ken and his dad who at the time was a big Tarheel fan. It was sweet to be able to rub it in. - Good Story about 1987 NC State team on TheACC.COM

1989 – OK… nothing good happened for State in this tournament. How did we lose to the # 8 seed. As soon as the game was over, my step-grandfather who is a Carolina Alum called to rub it in… boy talk about adding insult to injury.

1995 – The Randolph Childress Show, ACT 3. Childress had been on fire all weekend and it was shaping up to be a special weekend for Wake Forest fans. When I arrived at my mom’s house that Saturday to celebrate my birthday, I had no idea how special the weekend would be. Soon after Wake held off Virginia in the semis, I was informed that my 30th birthday gift was a pair of tickets to the championship game. Childress had a quiet 37 if that’s possible. It came down to Wake’s last possession in overtime, and all 23,000 in the Greensboro Coliseum knew who was going to get the shot. There was nothing the Heels could do as Childress drained a jumper to put Wake up by 2. The game wasn’t over quite yet as the Heels almost won it on a desperation 3-pointer at the horn. This remains the only ACC Tournament game that I have witnessed in person.


Ken White said...

It was pretty special to grow up in NC. I've actually had teachers bring in TVs for Friday games.

During college it seems the tournament lined up with spring break. One of my favorite memories is my friend Rick and I took a radio into the old farmington gym, and played 1-on-1 through the first two games.

My senior year in high-school, my dad wrote me a note to leave school early. Apparently I wasn't the only one, because there was a line at the office to run in the notes, and on this rare occassion the principle of the school was taking the notes. After standing behind 10 people who lied about doctors appointments, I handed him my note, he asked what I was leaving for, and I told him I was going home at noon to watch the games. He said that was not an acceptable excuse and that I couldn't leave, so I did what any real fan would, I left right then.

One strong memory, I wouldn't call it good, is the snow year in Charlotte. In those early years of my tournament experience, we'd try to buy and sell enough tickets to pay for our own tickets. Not serious scalping, but maybe buying cheap and then selling for $10 over. Had a was of cash and friday afternoon bought a fistful of tickets for the night session. I guess we hadn't heard the weather forecast. It started with a cold, cold rain. Suddenly that crowd of people who usually show up to buy didnt' materialize. Lost out big-time. Saturday morning when it was time to head from the hotel to the arena, it starts snowing. I had an RX-7. Driving I-77 I decide to test how slippery it is going about 35. I tap the breaks and promptly do a 360 into the median. Only good thing was a tow truck comes along 30 seconds later, pulls me out for $20. Made it to my parents but not down the drive. The snow was about 13 inches and the car is about 8 inches off the ground.

Oh, one more. Tournament in charlotte during the Laettner years. Driving in, I made a sign to help get tickets. This one really pissed off my Dukie friend as I held it over his head. "Gay sex for Tickets. Go Duke!"