Barry Saunders

In the cold ACC winter, what’s a poor Blue Devil to wear? – Saunders

Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledges a fan before they played the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC on Jan. 4, 2017. It was his last game for a while as he is slated to undergo back surgery.
Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledges a fan before they played the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC on Jan. 4, 2017. It was his last game for a while as he is slated to undergo back surgery. cseward@newsobserver.com

Right about now, if you came up and told me there are yellow unicorns grazing in a field of cinnamon-flavored alfalfa on Falls of Neuse Road, I’d believe it. After hearing from some of you following Monday’s column wishing Coach K a speedy recovery – just so we can root more heartily against him – I’m inclined to believe anything.

Sit down for this, folks, but there are – in our midst – people who claim to root for both Duke and UNC basketball.

I didn’t believe it, either, but I checked my calendar, confirmed that it wasn’t April Fools Day, and was amazed. Knowing there are people who like both schools’ teams should make the following request even easier, then.

One of the great things about living in the Triangle is that residents here are very free-handed when it comes to helping those in need.

Food, clothing, money, shelter?

Countless times over the years, we at The N&O have beseeched you on behalf of people in trouble, down on their luck. Each time, your motto has been, in the words of Billy Swan, “I can help.”

We come to you again, hat in hand, seeking your help in providing shelter and clothing for a group of young men who suddenly find themselves nekkid and afraid. Yes, we are seeking your help for the Duke University men’s basketball team.

Today, beloved, we come to you again, hat in hand, seeking your help in providing shelter and clothing for a group of young men who suddenly find themselves nekkid and afraid.

Yes, we are seeking your help for the Duke University men’s basketball team.

We recently reported that, following a loss, an incensed Coach K banned the players from the locker room and forbade them to wear Duke University team gear. The last time he issued such an edict, a dozen freshman women on campus were treated at Duke University Hospital for shock after encountering the unclad athletes, wearing nothing but Nikes, strolling across campus.

Upper-class women were used to it. When they’d see a group of tall unclothed men baring their quads on the West Campus quad, they’d automatically go “Hmm, team must’ve lost last night.”

Want to hear a sad, true story?

Decades ago while I was riding in a car with my aunt in Philadelphia, she exclaimed “Look, there’s Wilt Chamberlain.”

Yeah, the tall man with the goatee ducking into a store looked like my favorite basketball player, all right, but it couldn’t have been him, my poorly-developed, 10-year-old brain thought. He wasn’t wearing his uniform.

I was, to put it mildly, a tad slow.

How will any similarly slow Duke students know the members of the team if they’re not wearing their “Property of Duke Basketball” sweats to class or to the cafeteria? The players were, thank K, allowed to wear their uniforms for the next game – a victory over Wake Forest, allaying fears that they’d be forced to just play shirts vs. skins.

February is traditionally our coldest month, so here’s a chance for Wolfpack, Eagle and Tar Heel players and fans to rise above petty partisanship and help the Duke players by sending them some of their gear – if not for the players, at least for any unsuspecting students whose modesty might be offended.

Sure, sauntering across Duke’s campus in Carolina blue will sting their pride, but not as badly as that February hawk will sting their backside. Without help from other schools, the Blue Devils could really be blue the next time they displease their coach.

So, let’s put aside partisanship in this instance and pull together for the sake of those fine young men who just happen to wear a different color uniform – when they’re allowed to. Call now: Operators are standing by. If the image of Duke’s hoopsters huddled against the cold outside the Cameron Indoor Stadium locker room doesn’t loosen the nets of your purse strings, perhaps this will.

Maestro, hit it:

We are the world, we are the players

We are the ones who make our beloved coach a multimillionaire

We are the world, we are the players.

But he locked us out and told us to get the #$%@ out of there.

Barry Saunders: 919-836-2811, @BarrySaunders9

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