I was scrolling through my Twitter Feed the other day and ran across a post by Coach Capel. The post contained a quote from Coach K (and a corresponding picture) detailing the five fundamental qualities that make teams great. These qualities have been adopted as core values within the Duke Basketball family, and everyone involved with the team is expected to embody these qualities on a daily basis.
This got me thinking, shouldn’t we as Duke fans have a set of core values as well? It sounded like a good idea to me, so I figured I’d start a discussion on possible Duke Blue Laws.
Potential Blue Law: Don’t Be A Fat Fan!
Before you jump to a conclusion about the wording of this Blue Law let me assure that it has nothing to do with physical appearance. I would have no room to criticize if that was the case (which reminds me, I need to go to the gym and get rid of this Memorial Day weight).
This metaphorical Blue Law was actually inspired by my brother. Last week, while we were on vacation, my family went out to grab breakfast. We found a nice cafe near the ocean and ordered a LOT of food. The table was full of pancakes, sausage, fruit, oatmeal, and orange juice, it was awesome (and a little excessive, I really need to go to the gym.) As I tucked my napkin in my shirt collar, my brother looked over at me and said “Hey, where are we going for dinner?” The only response I could think of is “wow, you’re fat.”
He looked hurt for a quick second, so I figured I should explain myself. I told him that only someone with a super-serious weight problem would be thinking of their next meal before enjoying the meal in front of them. It almost felt like he disrespected his french toast by thinking about the steak and potatoes that would be coming later on that day. Who’s to say that this awesome breakfast won’t taste better, and provide more nourishment than anything we could find for dinner?
Unfortunately, some Duke fans have fallen into this type of “Blue Devil obesity.” I first noticed this tendency during the 2009-2010 season. We had a team that had really good star players in Scheyer, Smith, Singler and some excellent reserves, but also had a few question marks. Who would start at point guard? Will anyone step up and be ready to play the Center position? Etc… Then something happened in October, 2009. While most Duke fans were debating the perfect lineup for the current squad, Kyrie Irving committed to Duke and everyone’s thoughts immediately shifted to the next year.
Don’t get me wrong, Kyrie was a program changer. He was a Godsend. He was one of the best point guards to wear a college jersey, but he wasn’t coming until the next season.
As a portion of the fan base drooled over “what could be” with Kyrie at the helm and started printing 2011 National Championship t-shirts, something amazing happened. Kyle Singler caught fire, Nolan Smith elevated his game to a new level, Jon Scheyer transformed himself into a dangerous shooting guard/point guard hybrid, Lance Thomas became a defensive specialist, and Brian Zoubek became a rebounding machine. It was incredible. That team wasn’t “supposed” to be as good as they were. They weren’t supposed to win a championship, but they were really good and they won it all. I’m grateful that I chose to be fully invested in that team from the day Duke lost to Villanova in 2009 until the moment Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave clanked off the rim in 2010.
We’re in a similar situation this year. We have a potentially INCREDIBLE team in front of us for the 2013-2014 season. The breakfast table was already full with Sulaimon, Cook, Dawkins, Thornton, Murphy, Hairston, and the rest of the veterans, but the additions of Parker, Hood, Jones, and Ojeleye could make this a once-in-a-lifetime meal.
Is it exciting to think about the possibility of a dinner table stocked with the Okafor/Jones tandem with sides of Grayson Allen and Justice Winslow? Of course it is. But let’s not overlook the team we have in front of us.
It just might be a breakfast of champions.