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The Greatest Rivarly Ever (2010) Chapter 2: The Fixed-Gear with a Wobbly Wheel

February 10, 2010



This time last year the ACC lay in a bloody heap. The Tar Heels had been teetering on the edge of more than just a good, deep team for months. They had all the pieces to be special, but seemed to be waiting to unleash it. I of course was sick of hearing, reading, and seeing it. If you'd watched four years of Tyler Hansbrough laying up arm flapping shots at the basket you would be too. He was beloved for simply meandering towards the post, catching the ball, sticking his ass out, pushing someone out of the way, spinning, tossing up some garbage, getting fouled, and then losing a contact for good measure. And all of that took no more than 5 seconds at any point in the game....

Tyler Hansbrough was like the big, proud Labrodor Retriever of the league, and although he seemed kind of sweet and dumb, no one was going to take a bite at him. No matter what his intentions, anything with that much boundless energy and goofy, squat-legged bulk could be dangerous.

But every so often during his four years on the prowl around the backyard, a Duke team would come along and toss a stick at the big dog. No, not for play, not for just a game of fetch, but just to get the big guy riled up. You want to prove you can muscle your way around the neighborhood, sometimes you've got to really throw your weight around. And Tyler did.

And after much anticipation it would commence. The skinny, ill-looking kid on a fixed gear bike would pedal around frantically, trying to avoid the dog's massive jaws and heavy, muscular body. All the kid wanted to do was push his own weight around for a litlte while, to prowl the yard with the same pride and confidence as the Lab.

But every time the challenge was laid to the Heels mutt, that damn wobbly back tire would flare up. Other than this one flaw, the two wheeled, fixed-gear machine was the sight of perfection. Gleaming blue paint job, shock absorbers, a comfy seat, and a beautifully polished titanium frame. The bike just looked fast, it could run, it could jump, it could go screaming down the tallest, steepest hills, wind blasting the rider in the face, blowing nothing but pure exhiliration into every Blue Devil's heart.

But at some point, when making a sharp turn, or navigating a bumpy road, that wobbly back wheel would flare up, tossing the whole bike into a jumbled heap on the side of the road. Even the best riders would at one point or another find themselves cast away from the fast lane with a sudden lurch, an invisible brake, and a gut wrenching collapse.

But then.....the Big Dog was gone. And in his place, just mere puppies. A whole litter of sad eyed, little puppies. They could still bark, run, and jump, and play, but the experience and the meanness was gone.

If you were a bicyclist with a wobbly back tire, who are you going to have an easier time getting past? The big dog? Or a lost, scraggly group of puppies? That's where Duke and UNC are tonight. Duke is evermore the flawed team, a wobbly, inconsistent wheel flare up from being knocked unconscious into a ditch. But the Tar Heels are no less flawed. They, like puppies do, have been goofing around and looking lost all season. Bewildered by ther surroundings, they crane their oversized heads into the atmosphere for clues and answers, and don't find any.

For a Duke team full of talent, experience, and that lingering wobbliness, an over matched, young, but exceptionally talented UNC team may be easy pickings. But it's only a matter of time before the little dogs grow up, and unless Duke starts turning their tires, it could soon be another four years of one big, growling dog ruling the ACC roost.

So for tonight, we get to watch a hungry bunch of pups play their tails off against a foe who knows all the bumps in the road.

7 comments:

Teach said...

I see what you're doing, Aisander, and it's not funny.

You, the virtuous Duke fan with a broken bicycle, are letting me play the role of the villianous Carolina fan.

You watch me end a post with Henson turning into HG Wells' invisible man and holding a gun to Singler's face, and you come back with subtle jabs in the form of loose allusions to a Tyler Hansbrough commercial.

The American people won't stand for it. They'll see through your propaganda bull shit. After all, Dan Brown's next book is about K's ties to the Illuminati.

February 10, 2010 at 5:45 PM
Iceman, AD said...

You're so clever Teach. You only get to play the villianous Carolina fan because you do it so well. I mean you just wrote 1000 words on a russian roulette game featuring Duke/UNC players. And apparently Henson now has invisibility powers.

Also, for clarity's sake, K is a Free Mason and Skull.

February 10, 2010 at 8:11 PM
gillian said...

Good game. We'll have a go at Chapter 3: Interrogation Tactics by the weekend.

February 10, 2010 at 11:07 PM
gillian said...

This is Teach posting under Gillian's username. Man, I hate sharing a computer, but it's something I have to do now that the ArcticCircle extends to DC.

February 10, 2010 at 11:08 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Hi Gillian, thanks for commenting...hehe. Yeah it was a good game. It was exactly what I expected from both Duke and Carolina playing in the Smith Center. You guys just looked young and in need of a game-breaking leader. Last year you had two, Lawson and Hansbrough, methinks you'll have another soon. Someone will rise from the ashes to kick some ass.

As for Duke, they need to learn how to play at an elite level on the road. They do great at home, but other tha Scheyer, no one knows what basketball is once they get outside of Cameron.

February 10, 2010 at 11:59 PM
Deckfight said...

oh man, nice site guys! think i'm going to friendly familiarity...then bam. good work.

i watched most of the game while i was waiting for a band to play.

duke was hitting all the cuts and finding the passes, like that one from zoubek to singler cutting at around the 8 minute mark in the 2nd half.
Duke looked looked like an actual OFFENSE, with Scheyer only throwing up the occasional 3...compared to whatever Carolina put out there. every time duke got frustrated they seemed to go back to the regular offense, while Carolina did the opposite.

February 11, 2010 at 3:55 PM
Teach said...

Roy's biggest weakness as a Coach is that his teams, at least at Carolina, have never been great in the half court. It's more obvious this year without any individual studs.

And, I couldn't believe that Zoubek was involved in a play of offensive beauty. It pains me still.

February 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

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