First Person: Dealing With Duke

By Amy Hoots | 1 Comment(s) | Posted

Trying to sell a house that a toddler lives in can provide a challenge. About 10 days ago, we were cleaning up our house in preparation for a showing the following day. I had some stuff to haul down to the basement for storage and I had set the items on top of the steps leading down. After taking the first load down, I was about to make my way back up the stairs until I looked up and was met with my son’s beaming face at the top. 

In his hand, he held a small can of paint.  

In our house, we play a game that consists of Brady throwing balls down the stairs and us throwing them back up. A round object is clearly different than a cylindrical object, but a toddler such as my son is inclined to ignore that type of frivolous detail. 

It is not difficult to see where this story is going, just as it was not difficult to see every paint splatter on the carpet and walls after my son heaved the paint can down the stairs. He ignored my desperate plea of “noooo” and in an instant, created his most memorable art project to date. Brown paint, meet our white carpet and white walls.

I was mad, discouraged, and frustrated with the situation. Most people can understand why I felt upset about the pools of brown paint on our carpet and the light walls (which could no longer be classified as such). And inconveniently, it was the one wall color in our house that we didn’t have matching paint. But only someone who truly loves a sports team could understand why that anger in the stairwell was nothing compared to what I felt a week later sitting in the Smith Center trying to wrap my head around what was happening in front of me. Like brown paint on white carpet, it was ugly.

Duke had control of the game from the opening tip and never let go. I found it more frustrating than the Great Paint Incident of 2013 for a few reasons:

1) The calamitous art project was begun and completed in a mere second. The dreadful basketball game drug on for 2,400 painful ones.

2) For Brady, it only took one bad shot down the stairs for misfortune to strike. For the Tar Heels, it was missed opportunity after missed opportunity. If you found yourself saying, “One of these 3-pointers has to go in” you stood corrected time after time. If you looked at the other basket and found yourself saying, “They have stop falling eventually,” that “eventually” came way too late. 

3) As soon as I saw the paint can in my son’s hands, I knew with certainty what he was going to do with it. I could see it in his devilish beautiful blue eyes and when it was done, it was done. It was my fault for putting a can of paint with a loose lid on the top of the stairs. I’ll take my punishment and deal with the aftermath. However, at the Smith Center, I didn’t see it coming. Admittedly, I went into Cameron Indoor Stadium a few weeks prior mentally prepared for the worst, but I was not prepared for what I saw at home on Senior Night.

One of the first things I said to my husband during the paint cleanup was that someday, we would laugh about it. Someday came quicker than I expected and even now, when I walk next to the stained carpet and freshly painted walls, it’s hard not to chuckle.

I don’t expect to ever laugh about the debacle in the Dean Dome, but I can only hope that their play during the ACC tournament and beyond will help me forget it.


  1. Patrice's avatar
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    Love it Amy! Sorry about the Brady incident but it makes for a great story!

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