Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Boeheim Freakout, Reconsidered

One of the more interesting tropes I've come across recently is the notion that Jim Boeheim's freakout against Duke was a result of him being unable to handle the unfamiliar pressure of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Presumably it was this, and not an iffy blocking call, that caused Boeheim to go completely monkey @#$#nuts all over the refs while performing a half-Magic Mike.

To which, after due consideration, I can only say "nope".

Boeheim is the second winningest coach of all time. He coaches regularly in front of screaming throngs of 49,000 plus. He has coached in Madison Square Garden in Big East tournaments, with fan bases drawn from noted hotbeds of civility like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. He has coached in national championship games, and he has coached at Georgetown. In short, neither number of fans, nor rabid intensity of opposing fans, nor tiny ancient opposing field houses nor anything else is likely to surprise him at this point, because he's been coaching at an elite level for nearly 40 years. 

What the theory speaks to, really, is the notion among Duke fans that they, and their building, are unique. Which is true. There is nothing quite like a game at Cameron. 


At the same time, there's nothing quite like a Big 5 game at The Palestra. And there's nothing quite like a chant of "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" shaking the rafters at the Allen Fieldhouse. Or a game at the Pit. Or, God forbid, Hinkle Fieldhouse. It's a shared experience of uniqueness, every fan base claiming a unique identity that, in some cases, gets pumped up by the Dickie Vs of the world. 

So it's wonderful. And it's special. And Duke beat Syracuse based on talent and coaching and the natural advantage that comes from home field, same as Syracuse beat Duke in the Carrier Dome. But it's not really more than that, and that's OK.

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