My Son is Crazie

Posted April 7, 2010 by jimhigley

Seriously, my son Kevin is crazie. As in “Cameron Crazie,” a student supporter of Duke’s basketball team.

With Duke winning the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship in a nail-biter game against Cinderella Butler last Monday night, it’s been one heck of a dream week for every Crazie. For family and friends of a Crazie, however, it might be a challenge to be around one of these Avatar-looking fans right now. As the dad of a Crazie, I know how emotional a Crazie can be. So, I’m a little worried about my son. I’m worried that his college friends might be having a tough time with him. You see, he doesn’t actually attend Duke. He’s a Flyer. As in the University of Dayton.

So, to all of you Flyer friends of Kevin, here’s a dad’s perspective, some explanation, and a little advice for surviving Kevin.

Why Duke? This isn’t some made-up love affair. Kevin was born in a Duke hospital. As a toddler, he witnessed the first two of Duke’s four titles. Players like Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner were his idols. They lived a couple miles away. We could go to Cameron to see them practice. Duke’s campus was Kevin’s playground. I’m not sure how else to explain from where his passion came. But trust me, it’s real.

The UNC Thing. Crazies hate UNC. It goes both ways. And, it’s weird. But Kevin is not alone on this one. Perhaps that might explain why Kevin won’t talk to you if you have on a shirt that is Carolina blue. Yes, yes,
I know he’s color blind but somehow he can distinguish the Tar Heel color a mile away. Kevin’s bitter feelings towards UNC are in his DNA. Ironically, as you know, your own Flyers men’s basketball team beat UNC in this year’s NIT championship game. It’s an amazing set of circumstances that could never have been fathomed in Kevin’s lifetime. UNC not making the top 64 teams in March Madness? UNC being sent with their tail between their legs to the NIT? Dayton, your Dayton, of all things playing and beating UNC to win the NIT? My advice to those of you who wish to endear yourself to Kevin is talk a lot about this. Make him feel you share in his glory. He will be putty in your hand.

The Day I Realized this “Crazie” Thing was Serious. Several years ago, our family had a crisis we were dealing with. At one point, Kevin locked himself in his room, lights off, and crawled on his bed. I went in to try to help him out. He was a mess. He yelled at me to get out. Truthfully, I was surprised how strongly he was reacting to the matter at hand. That was, however, until he screamed at me, “Don’t you get it? Duke lost tonight! I’m not happy, leave me alone!”

Advice on Joking about Duke. If you think he’ll laugh at a Duke joke, forget about it. If you want to get under his skin, then any joke that casts Duke in less than a favorable light will do it. I really wouldn’t do this, however, as you are likely to get a similar reaction that you’d get from Kevin when Duke loses. See next topic.

Future Advice on (God forbid!) a Duke Loss. It may be a little early to talk about next season but let me just say this. I’ve learned to never put anything on the family calendar that involves Kevin the day after a Duke game. In the unlikely event they lose Kevin is miserable, crabby, rude, curt and just not himself. Avoid the frustration.

Coach K.. Mike Krzyzewski. The coach. The king. One of the winningest coaches in college basketball. He coached his 1000th game at Duke this year. His stats are over the top. This guy is gold in Kevin’s mind. If my funeral was on the same day as Coach K’s I honestly think Kevin would have to stop and think.

I could go on. But enough of the goofy stuff. There’s plenty of positive things that come with having a Crazie in your life. They are good with body paint. They are often good with numbers. They are great at creating chants. They usually have at least a basic amount of rhythm. They are pretty clever. They get excited about things. They make terrific signs. And, perhaps more than anything, they are the most loyal, passionate people you will find.

Those last two things, by the way, are the things I love the most. I’ve had 20-some years to really understand the sincerity of these qualities in a Crazie. A little annoying sometimes? Sure. But I hope you’ll look past the stuff that might make you want to punch your Dayton-Duke-Crazie.

He’s for real.

A Special Message for Nathan. You know who you are. Thank you for getting us the tickets to attend and witness first-hand the Duke-Butler game. You’ve just put the 21 years of gifts I’ve given to Kevin to shame. But that’s O.K. You gave us a day we’ll never forget. Here’s a clip of the winning moment: