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Poseur Renounces His Childhood Team

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Maryland is dead to me. For the weekend, at least

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Belmont
I renounce you.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

I grew up in Maryland. I still say “hon” too much in regular conversation, keep a bucket of Old Bay in my pantry, prefer Tastykakes to Little Debbie, and can eat my body weight in crab. Like all Marylanders, I own a disturbing amount of merchandise with the Maryland flag on it, have Utz potato chips shipped to my house, and own the Homicide: Life on the Streets box set.

My parents were both LSU alumni, so they properly brainwashed their children in all of the ways of the Tigers, but that was mainly about football. Growing up outside Baltimore, the unspoken agreement was that LSU got our football devotion, but come basketball season, we rooted for the Terps.

My first real live basketball game was the legendary Cole Field House. I worshiped Len Bias as a kid, but secretly wanted to be Adrian Branch instead. We were an LSU family, so we loved Dale Brown and Rudy Macklin, but there was room in our hearts for Lefty Driesell and Albert King.

One of my first true sports heartbreaks was the Terps losing in the 1984 tournament to Illinois in the Sweet 16. The Terps had won the ACC tournament, and I was sure this was the year… until it wasn’t. Maryland would finally make a Final Four in 2001, and win the title in 2002. And I partied like it was my own team. Because it still was. They were my childhood love, and you never forget that.

And now, the Terrapins stand in the way of the LSU Revenge Tour.

I still catch the occasional Maryland game. This year, they were a fairly likable bunch. Sort of an unformed idea of a team that never quite came together. The highly touted freshmen didn’t quite take the Big Ten by storm, and the load fell to the shoulders of junior Anthony Cowan and sophomore Bruno Fernando.

They spent the year being one of those anonymous middle of the pack major conference squads that fill out the bracket every year. Their biggest wins are over Wisconsin and Purdue, both at home. The highest ranked team in the KenPom Maryland beat on the road all season was #36 Iowa. This is the kind of year that won’t get anyone to build a statue of you, but is more likely to be greeted with more of a shrug of the shoulders. A visit to the Sweet 16 would radically transform this season into a wild success.

So therefore, we must destroy them.

I have poured the Natty Boh down the drain and tossed the Utz pretzels into the garden. I’m not giving up Fisher’s popcorn, but I will abstain from crabcakes for a full weekend. I turn my back on John Waters for the next 48 hours. I even forsake Jim Henson and the Muppets... okay, maybe not that far.

Maryland is my first love, but LSU is my true love. That’s where I went to school, where my parents went to school. I watched Shaq play for godsakes. This is no time for sentiment. What I thought would have been a difficult choice for my loyalties is no choice at all… Geaux Tigers.

I want, no, I need LSU to stomp Maryland back to the Bob Wade years. I do not fear the turtle. LSU is donning the black hat, and it starts for me by extinguishing the flame for old loves.

Sorry, Testudo. It’s not you, it’s me. I found someone else, and he has his own habitat. I’m sorry… we can still be friends. Just not on Saturday.

#BootUp