The Never-Before Given Award

You are receiving an award –- either one that already exists, or a new one created just for you. What would the award be, why are you being honored, and what would you say in your acceptance speech?

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. There are so many people I would like to thank for this first ever “Devoted BLUE DEVIL Fan” award. First of all, I would like to thank my parents for allowing me to stay up at night to watch the basketball play-offs so that I would become a basketball junkie at an early age. I have been watching Mr. Krzyzewski, the coach of the DUKE Blue Devils, forever. I remember the first game that I watched as they played in the old coliseum. Thinking back, it was as if it were yesterday.

I remember missing homework assignments in both high school and college because I had to choose between staying up and watching a late west coast game- always against the best of the best- and then missing (or turning in late) an assignment that really did not have as much merit as the teacher thought that it might. (Sorry teachers.)

College went on much the same way, but in college I was able to connect to other DUKE addicts. The nights were memorable! The Sweet Sixteens. The Elite Eights. The Final Fours. The Championship Finals! Oh, I remember them well!

I want to give a shout out to all of my favorite players: the players that others have loved to hate. You have made my life far more rewarding than it would have ever been without you in it.

  • Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker– What a tandem! You were awesome to watch.
  • Bobby Hurley– Your dribbling drove me crazy!
  • Steve Wojciechowski (Wojo) – Was there a man on earth you could not guard?
  • Shane Battier– Talk about a basketball IQ!
  • J. J. Redick– You don’t know this, J.J.… but I got to coach against you in a game. (We lost.)
  • Christian Laettner– I love your big feet!

This year’s team: I have to thank you. You have shown the universe what teamwork really means!

  • Marshall Plumlee: All I can say is thank you and RESPECT!
  • Amile Jefferson: You are the hidden glue that is needed when the youth of DUKE is not prevailing.
  • Justice Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Grayson Allen: What honor you guys have shown as freshmen on the court- For the TEAM- Not for your glory.
  • Jahlil Okafor: You stand for all that is good in young men needing to mature and show worth on the court in the face of all temptations- you are standing strong. RESPECT.

And the last one to mention-

  • Quinn Cook: You are what it means to play and enjoy college sports. You have been the Wise Older Brother to this young team. You stepped aside – holding pride in check- for these freshman. But by doing so, you have shown the world what a true athlete and sportsman is supposed to look like. You are the reason DUKE Basketball is a team this year. You are the man!

Thank you all- the old and the new- for allowing me to share your lives.

I step down off the platform holding a trophy that I will sleep with for at least the next three months … with tears flowing down my face.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’d Like to Thank My Cats.”

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