UNC JV Manager is a Tar Heel hero
I think by this point we've all heard quite enough over the past 24 hours about UNC students who make bad choices. Now it's time to read about one who is a shining example of everything that is right about being a Tar Heel.
As you might have heard, one of the annual features of the Carolina-Duke game is the game the night before between the Carolina and Duke managers. When the varsity game is at Cameron, the managers play at Cameron. When the varsity game is at the Smith Center, the game is in Chapel Hill, which makes it much easier for the Duke managers, who probably all want to spend their evenings in Chapel Hill anyway.
In the first installment of the game this season, this happened:
Nauseating. I'm not talking about the game-winning shot. That's something everyone dreams of doing. I'm talking about the fact that the Duke managers actually wore uniforms to play in the managers game, thereby forever establishing a benchmark of the most Dukeish thing possible. Let's also keep in mind that I don't see anyone protecting the UNC managers after the court-storming, which I guess means they don't "deserve that type of protection."
Last night was the rematch, which featured Duke bringing an actual manager acting as coach who wore the usual Duke manager uniform of tucked-in polo and khakis. You could tell that he was an authentic Duke coach, because he spent most of the timeouts directing highly colorful adjectives at his players--who, again, are managers--in such a loud tone of voice that it was easily audible across the floor where the UNC students were sitting.
This time, the game was not as close as the initial installment. Carolina had a 60-49 lead with just seconds remaining. Tar Heel varsity manager Mary Ellen Weylandt, who is a phenomenal manager but probably not destined for the WNBA, was in the game only because the Tar Heels were clearly going to win. She had the ball at the top of the key with less than ten seconds left, with nine people on the court clearly just playing out the final meaningless seconds. Carolina was going to win. Duke was going to lose. It happens.
Until, that is, the Duke manager guarding Mary Ellen--perhaps unaccustomed to being in such close proximity to a female--decided to start bodying her up in his best imitation of that tenacious Blue Devil defense we've all grown to know and love. I can only imagine what restraint it took for him to not slap the floor. That must have been a challenge.
Anyway, with everyone else on the court completely disinterested, the Duke manager succeeds in swiping the ball from Mary Ellen--he took the ball, from a girl who self-admittedly is not a great player, with the game no longer in doubt, after his other teammates had already given up, which I believe is technically known as "a Duke move"--with about five seconds left in the game. Perhaps feeling that he might be awarded a game-tying 11-pointer for making a quick basket, or maybe from being used to playing at Cameron, where the clock has been known to do funny things, he takes a couple dribbles and then launches a shot from halfcourt. The shot is slightly less successful than the halfcourt shots you see during halftime promotions. And then...this happens (thanks to Michael Melvin for being there to capture it for posterity):
The ball bounces off the backboard and comes back to the Duke manager, who is undoubtedly dreaming of telling his kids telling his friends posting on Facebook about the time he made a buzzer-beater at the Smith Center. Then, out of nowhere, comes UNC head JV manager Caleb Royster. A native of Shelby, Caleb decides that the offending manager will not, in fact, be making a buzzer-beater.
Caleb decides he is going to do what all of us have, at one point in our lives, wanted to do: he levels the smarmy Blue Devil. It is perhaps the greatest shot in the UNC-Duke rivalry since Marvin Williams in 2005, and it only gets better every time I watch it. What makes it so great is how instinctive it was--there was only one chance to do the right thing, and he did it. It's a move he will never regret for the rest of his life. Let me be clear: I don't advocate violence. But I do advocate justice, and Caleb Royster's shoulder is the hammer of justice.
The questionable judgment shown by a Tar Heel student yesterday might have left you wondering about the wisdom of the current class of Tar Heel students. Five seconds of hustle by Caleb Royster restored my faith in Carolina students. It's game day.