Friday, April 17, 2009

cuuurrrrryyyy. cuuurrrrryyyy.

Being a sports fan is weird. It's like this, see. As you can see from the sidebar, I'm a Hoo by choice, not by birth. The main thing this means, besides having a diploma, is that a lot of UVA history is sort of alien to me. Take Jason Williford - it's very exciting for those who were fans back in the early '90s that he's once again with the program. I myself had only a vague memory of having heard his name a couple times over the past nine years or so. My mechanism for whenever this sort of thing happens is to translate it over to my Michigan fandom - in this case, to imagine what it would be like as a Michigan fan if, say, Jimmy King came back as an assistant coach. (Which he's not allowed to do because of Fab Five sanctions, but bear with me.) It's not the same, but it's close. That way I can write about it and give a story like that the treatment it deserves instead of "some guy just got hired."

I'm a quick study, though. In 1999 I took notice of UVA's crushing at the hands of Illinois in the bowl game, but didn't allow myself to get too disappointed because, well, what if I didn't get accepted? The letter was still three months away. The next football game Virginia played was a devastating overtime loss to BYU in the sparkling, newly-renovated stadium. I say "devastating" because I was there, in attendance, a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed first-year and newly minted Cavalier fan, helping set a then-record for largest crowd ever at a sporting event within the Virginia borders. And it sucked walking out of there because we had that game won, man. I was genuinely upset about this. A new fanatic was born.

I had a lot to learn, though. A couple months later, North Carolina came to town. I knew a few things about them. I knew who their quarterback was, for example - a junior named Ronald Curry. But it was blindingly obvious there was more than just the usual level of scorn for that particular opponent. "Seething hatred" would be apt. Burning, spleenful rancor. You and a thesaurus could spend all day coming up with great literature-y ways to describe it, but there was clearly a greater-than-normal interest in the crowd in seeing this guy fail. A patient upperclassman next to me in the stands answered my inquiries with the story of Curry's recruitment and why exactly his first name was Benedict as far as anyone on Charlottesville was concerned. "Oh," I said. "Fuck that guy." "Exactly," was the reply. And when the game started I took just as much delicious schadenfreudey delight as anyone else at each and every one of Curry's mistakes. Every time he fumbled, every incomplete pass, every sack, were better than when they happened to some other schmo in the wrong colors. The game went down as just one in a long string of Curry's, and Carolina's, futility in Charlottesville, and a new fanatic grew into his fanaticism just a little more.

Why do I tell you all this? This footnote in the Detroit papers is why - inconsequential to most, to me, a story:

Lions sign WR Ronald Curry, FB Terrelle Smith

Most Lions fans see the team going about its offseason business as usual. I see something different, obviously. In ten years, Ronald Curry has gone from the quarterback of a random ACC team 800 miles away, to a guy wearing the colors of my NFL team. Stops in between include "despised filthy traitor" and "a big reason I actually had a decent fantasy team a couple years ago for once." This is why sports fanhood is so much fun.

This should provide another quality round of schadenfreude for UVA fans that remember the whole debacle, by the way. I'm a Lions fan, but they are officially the worst team ever to disgrace an NFL field, and in order to sign with them you have to either be not good enough to play for 31 other teams, or an unabashed mercenary. At this stage in his career, Curry is probably both.

Ohbytheway. Speaking of the Lions, here the case is made as to why they should make Eugene Monroe the first pick in the draft. Mike Mayock beat me to the punch - I had that post all planned for next week. Tough - I'm gonna write it anyway. Probably on Tuesday.

And now, speaking of guys we hate, we're not the only ones in this case. NBA scouts gave their opinions on various early enrollees for the draft, including everyone's favorite Twerp, Greivis Vasquez. The verdict: He's a gigantic douchenozzle of such douchey proportions that I'd actually draft a worse player on my team just so I don't have to put up with his douchey shit. Gee, I wonder what attracted him to Maryland.

This weekend is the spring game. Next week sometime I'll make some attempt at a spring wrap-up - not because I'm actually going to get to see the spring "game" (glorified scrimmage) but because it just sort of seems silly to do it beforehand. Actually the main thing to get excited about is that it's one of the bigger recruiting weekends of the early recruiting season. There won't be this many prospects on Grounds until camp time in June. There's always the hope for a commitment or two, and my best guess is if we get any, they'll be from Conner Davis and/or E.J. Scott.

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