Once again, our old friend has come to join us.

He came to ruin the once-sacred. His delight increases with each waking hour. The crooked grin he wears shows how much he cares.

With both feet in the pool of athletics, he earmarked and curtailed. His proficiency remains clear to the observer. The bottom line has spoken, and he transcribed the words.

Mr. Almighty Dollar, so sad to see  you again.

I remember the improbability of Duke’s 10-point deficit against Maryland in 2001. The Blue Devils came back – as only they seem to do – and defeated the Terrapins.

Me, I was a partial observer. As a 13-year old North Carolina fan, I poured my heart and soul out for Maryland. Not for any sake other than to see Duke lose. That win was a symbol of the rivalry at that time. The games were close, hard-fought battles. Names were enlarged, feelings were hurt and memories were made.

Many were compelled to watch, not because of allegiance. The consumers witnessed to observe great college basketball with a little something extra behind it. Emotion, passion, hatred and more were in the arc of every shot and the fury of every shot block. Each possession more important than the last.

As I sat in disbelief on a friend’s couch, I thought that only Maryland could bring that comeback out of Duke. The climate of the rivalry was searing its way through the screen.

This was Maryland, the school where Coach Lefty Driesell proclaimed that he would put an ACC Championship trophy on the hood of his car and drive down Tobacco Road.

This was Duke, the team everyone envied and loved to hate.

It was a beautiful thing.