Loyal fans get the reward

April 04, 2002|BY DAN KAUFFMAN

A strange thing happened to me Monday night as Juan Dixon hurled a basketball toward the roof of the Georgia Dome: Nothing.

Dixon celebrated. Gary Williams celebrated. All the Terps celebrated. Maryland fans everywhere celebrated.

As for me? I just sat in my recliner, along with my girlfriend, and simply watched.

No screaming. No chanting. No singing. No fist pumps. No yelling out "We did it!" at the top of my lungs.

What happened to me?

Simple. I didn't believe.

Two weeks ago, I picked Maryland to win the national championship ... but in doing so, I also predicted Oregon would knock off Kansas in the Elite Eight. Once the Terps and Jayhawks were officially matched up, I had another choice to make.

Choose loyalty?

Or choose being right?

I chose being right ... and wound up with neither.


I picked Kansas to beat Maryland, instead of picking the team I've followed since Walt Williams was a senior - roughly half of my lifetime.

Knowing that, I had a tough time celebrating Maryland's first national title. I didn't give the Terps the chance I should have. So what if I would have been wrong? So what if the Terps had lost?

Real fans - loyal fans - pull for their team no matter what. There are fans out there, like my grandfather, who believe the Orioles can contend for the American League East title this year. I usually make fun of him for that.

Not now.

Not after my team won it all, and I couldn't celebrate with them.

We have decided not to pick a Herald-Mail All-Area Indoor Track team this season.

Last season was the first time such a team was chosen, with seven boys and seven girls selected. This year, after choosing the first three or four athletes on each side, there were so many athletes with similar seasons, choosing the rest of the teams would have come down to little more than flipping a coin.

We don't mind a little controversy, and had the last pick on either team come down to two or three athletes, we would have rolled up the sleeves and made a final decision. But this time around, there were as many as a dozen athletes competing for two or three spots - and that's just not fair for those who would be left out.

Instead, there will be an All-Area Track team selected at the end of the outdoor season, for which both indoor and outdoor athletes may qualify. All state champions will make the team.

In addition, there will be All-Monocacy Valley Athletic League and All-Washington County teams for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Winners of individual events at those meets will make those teams. Needless to say, the All-County and All-MVAL indoor teams are already set.

Congratulations to Boonsboro's Daniel Robinson and Middletown's Allison Jarkey, who were the only two area athletes to win state titles indoors this season.

Their tickets for the All-Area team are already punched.

Sunday night on ESPN Sportscenter, anchor Stuart Scott said something that made me flinch - and then get really angry.

Connecticut's women's basketball team beat Oklahoma that night for the Huskies' own national title, building a sizable rebounding advantage - of which Scott said, "They raped them on the glass."

Yo, Stu ... there are millions of women, several of them who probably played in that game, who rightfully find nothing funny about the word rape.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2332 or

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