Sports: The Cause of and Solution to All Life's Problems
"The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."
--probably not the Duke of Wellington
It's been hard for me to understand the range of opinions and emotions the late furor has brought up around campus. It's hard for me to understand the opinions and emotions it's brought up in myself alone - ACLU liberal campaigning for innocence until guilt proven,
feminist screaming to expel and lock away anyone who can be proven to have even been in the house at the time of the rape;
school employee knowing that the policies breed the crime,
loyal student crying weakly that we're not all like that, please believe me, we're not;
devotee of the Right Thing to Do wanting this coverage to keep going and going until we can learn a lesson from it at last,
tired little girl wanting it to all go away, please, because I can't be sad like this for much longer.
And beyond me there's a hurricane of other fears and passions and commitments on campus - those claiming the team is an "easy target" because they're white and rich, those claiming race had nothing to do with what happened, those claiming the woman made it all up and won't we look like fools when the DNA finally comes back and it's proven she's a lying slut?*
Beyond that we have Durham, with another set of opinions entirely.
Then there's the rest of the country,
The rest of the world,
And you, too.
Being at the confluence of so many attentions is exhausting.
Within the maelstrom of guilt and blame and recrimination, there is a rock. I think it's safe to say that everyone at Duke and in Durham believes in this one fundamental principle:
Mike Nifong is an idiot.
I sincerely believe that there is not a single living soul left in Durham County who has confidence in the DA. The reasons for this lack of confidence differ, but include the following:
The taking of DNA evidence en masse from team members before charges were filed violates their civil rights (WRONG);
By talking smack about the case all up and down the media Nifong is seriously reducing the probability of anyone getting a fair trial here, plus I think there's something in his job description about not really talking to the press all that much, right?;
Nifong's imminent re-election is of far more importance to him than the ultimate well-being of this woman;
Announcing the results of the DNA evidence would be released this week, no, last week, no, next week, no, this week, isn't helping anyone to cope with any of this in a helpful way;
If he doesn't keep his flipping mouth shut starting yesterday, the Very Expensive Defense Attorneys are going to find something they can latch onto to use against him and the woman will be denied justice for what will happen to her;
and last, YOU'RE GOING TO GET SOMEONE HURT, DUMMY.
Since this whole thing started (I can't even refer to it as "the rape" anymore, or "the lacrosse case" - it is "the thing", the important thing, the only thing), Duke students have received a lot of warnings. Some of them come from the administration, telling us not to go off-campus or near the house in question lest we be caught in a driveby. Some of them come from our bosses and professors, telling us not to talk to the press, just in case, and we don't want to be subpoenaed, do we? Some of them are coming from Durham. One of them, in particular, came when two classmates of mine went to go get a hamburger and were surrounded in the drivethrough by angry people yelling about how they were on NCCU territory and not allowed there. Then someone punched one of the kids in the back of the head.
You won't find me campaigning against NCCU's right to be angry. They have every right to be outraged. If a kid from Central came up to me right now, I would have neither the ability nor the desire to defend Duke to him, because this is an indefensible situation. But what right does Nifong have to keep issuing statements that not only put HIS CASE at risk, but foment local instability and hatred and fear? His job as the District Attorney is to defend the well-being of his constituency, which I would think would include reining in his fat mouth until such a time as he has something of importance to say that will interest someone besides FOXNews.
So here we have it, a thundering whirlwind surrounding a rock of rancor. Bodies and neighborhoods are being swept up like swarms of so many gnats, rolling and tumbling until there's no distinguishing how things were before the tornado touched down above us.
Here is what we also had:
We had 70 points to Maryland's 67.
We had less than 10 seconds left in the game.
Here is what the storm had:
The storm had the ball.
The storm had Kristi Tolliver.
The storm roared and crashed as Tolliver hit an impossible three to send the game into overtime.
The storm swept up Jessica Foley's last minute three as we attempted to get ourselves a second overtime.
The storm had the NCAA championship.
So I suppose it shouldn't have been such a surprise to me to find myself sobbing as I heard Marissa Coleman scream as she jumped up and down on the court, ecstatic. After all, this wasn't about giving up a victory to Maryland.
It was giving up a victory to the storm, and the rock is such cold comfort.
*Yes, I have heard all of those things stated. No joke.
**I reserve the right to seriously edit this to make it suck less, and also to make it not equate some things it might now be equating. I'm not used to all this attention, guys. It makes me nervous.