Steeped in Tradition and Lore

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Everybody who grew up in the region that
stretches from Maryland to Georgia has their childhood story about the ACC
tournament, about how it causes a big stir and how time stops in some places
when the tourney starts. My story is a small, seemingly unimportant one that
goes back to my sophomore year at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville.

Former Clemson great Larry

I was in the library. I don’t remember what class I was there for, but I was
supposed to be studying. I didn’t get much studying done, though, because a
junior named Lisa Noble that I had a crush on was in the library with me, and I
was competing hard for her attention with a guy named Mike, whose last name
escapes me now, over 20 years later.

(For the record, though I didn’t know it at the time, I had already won that
competition. It was me that Lisa had eyes for, not Mike, and she and I would
later go out a number of times, until the age difference – a whole year! –
and young male stupidity – mine – got in the way of what could have been a
pretty good high school romance. Ah well, she was a sweetie, and I haven’t seen
her in over 20 years, and I hope she’s doing well. She would be thrilled to know
that when I picture her in my mind’s eye, she’s still full of the vigor and
beauty of youth. Oh, well, enough reminiscing…)

It was March 5, 1981, and it was the first day of the ACC basketball
tournament. I even know what time it was – it was between one and two o’clock
in the afternoon. I know because I watched Wake Forest beat Clemson on the
library’s television set. A little Internet research reveals that Wake was the
3-seed, Clemson was the 6-seed, and that year, the 3 and 6 seeds played the
first game, the noon game. During my class, I watched most of the second half of
the game, and that’s how I know it was between one and two o’clock.