Calm before the storm

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\ Yes, it’s nearly four hours before tip. And yes, I’m sitting in Comcast Center already. You can thank the wonders of technology for the photo of the look from press row.\ \ \ Also waiting for students is a letter from Gary Williams urging them to behave themselves tonight. This is an almost annual attempt (usually in vain) to plead for an obscenity-free environment. And like so many others, I have to admit it’s sort of hard for Gary to go this route if he won’t follow accordingly on the sideline.\ \ \ Let’s face it. He isn’t going to change, not with 30 years as a head coach, and nearly 600 victories and a national title to his name.\ \ \ And judging purely from experience, for better or for worse, Maryland students aren’t going to change either.\ \ \ Gary’s text (which I will leave completely unfiltered, so don’t send any grammatical complaints to me):\ \ \

Dear Students,\ \ \ Thanks for your support of our basketball team. You have helped make Comcast Center one of the great arenas to play and to watch a basketball game.\ \ \ Tonight’s game with DUKE is nationally televised. We want to show the country how great the crowd is at Comcast Center. You, our students, are the most important part of our crowd.\ \ \ Our student body has been criticized in the past during nationally televised games. The one problem has been chanting obscenities. This has to stop. This should be beneath us. This sends the wrong message. Our school, our fans, and our team are not about this.\ \ \ This has nothing to do with how loud you can be, how much fun you can have, or how wild you can be.\ \ \ Chanting obscenities has hurt us with referees, has “fired up” the other team and has given television announcers the ammunition to criticize our school on national television.\ \ \ We always talk to our team about playing TOUGH in big games. I am asking you, our student fans, to be TOUGH tonight. DO WHAT IS RIGHT\ \ \ Thank you,\ \ \ Gary Williams

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