Grant Wahl over at Sports Illustrated has his mailbag opened up today, with most questions focusing on his recent piece about unruly fans. I find it so fascinating how nearly half of the questions he posts are in regard to Duke. Maybe I’m just wearing blinders due to my bias, but I just can’t get over how much conversation begins and ends with the Duke basketball program. Read any ‘comments’ thread after any post on any site or blog. It will always be the longest thread filled with both haters, defenders and even a handful of objective opinions.
Anyhow, good read. I, like most Duke fans, was a little miffed about having current Cameron Crazies shenanigans along side the crap that went on at Oregon and Illinois recently. In the end though, I think people see the difference and Wahl does a good job hitting on it.
There is no doubt in the past, Cameron Crazies have had their bad moments. I know this because every time one school gets out of hand, they scream, “Duke did it, Duke did it too!”
Most older Duke fans will remember Duke President Terry Sanford’s famous letter to the Crazies. That was almost 25 years ago and since then, the Crazies have tried to rely on raw emotion, rituals and creative chants/signs (some have been good, some not so much). Now though, every school tries to emulate them.
The one thing I try to keep in mind is, for a lot of fans of other schools, this type of enthusiasms is a new thing. They too, like the Crazies, will have their moments, some that will be classic and some they will regret. I just try to pay attention to how the schools respond when the fans cross the line. The Terps faithful were disgusting eight to ten years ago, but over the last few years they’ve settled into a solid, loud fan base, who has their moments of creativity (of course maybe it’s the change of venue).
In the end, this is nothing new and don’t be surprised when you find another national writer writing about fan behavior.