Spending eight days in South America has a way of putting things into perspective. For example, in Buenos Aires, the biggest sports rivalry is the intra-city feud between the Boca Juniors and River Plate. Think of it as Maryland – Duke, with River Plate playing the role of Duke (their fans are known as Los Millionarios). The Boca Juniors are named after one of the poorest barrios; but they had Diego Maradona and have often gotten the best of their rivals many many times (something the Terps have only done recently with Duke).
Last month, a member of a group of Boca Junior’s most ardent supporters, known as the Barras Bravas, murdered another Brava member in cold blood on the streets of Buenos Aires. The murder was the result of inter-fan rivalries within the Boca fan base. I tell you this because I hope it serves as some perspective as to the balance between individuality and sports fanatacism. Unlike poor Argentines, our fanhood is not mixed with the kind of poverty and desperation that can drive someone to murder someone else over a soccer team. For that, we all need to be thankful.
Against this backdrop, I logged on to Turtle Soup last Monday and read about the Comcast Collapse. I tried to put things in context. After all, I was surrounded by 45 Million Argentines who not only didn’t care about the Clemson game, but had never even heard of the Maryland Terrapins. Still, reading about the 20-point collapse and your reaction to it, was one of the hardest things I have ever had to fathom as a sports fan. It is only surpassed by the 2001 Duke loss (gone in 53 seconds).
As the team and the fan base tries to pick up the pieces from last Sunday, I can only wish for one thing: that our Terps prove to me, the selection committee, and most importantly, to themselves; that they can play a complete game for 40 minutes. I desperately want them to make the Tournament (Remember, I’m an Oriole fan, this is all I have until September), but at this point, I’d rather just see them finish a game. Win or lose tonight, if they show me that; I’ll be happy.