Who cries for Duke? (A basketball poem)

Poetry On the John

Who cries for Duke?

Originally completed April 5, 2010, 7:42 PM

Does God actually dislike Duke? That would be sad.

Who cries for Duke? And their basketball souls.

Abused after every foul shot, every win, every loss

Each Final Four, if they make it or not

By all but their very own fans


Who cries for Duke? 14 young men of basketball hope.

Who wished to play for The Great Coach K

With 10 post-’85 Final Fours to his name

With those iconic blues

And those Nike shoes

And the men on television lauding their game

Where the players graduate at respectable rates

And the program is never suspended


Who cries for Duke? These players who joined the tradition

Of Dawkins and Ferry and Amaker too

Of Laettner and Hurley and both of the Hills

Of Wojo and Langdon and Avery and Brand

Of Battier, Williams, Duhon and

The terrible Mr. Redick

Oh, how Dicky V plain bothers me

With his love for those dazzling Devils


Who cries for Duke? And their number one seeding.

“Should’ve been Ohio State!” the people were pleading

“Or West Virginia! K-State! Or even ol’ Nova!”

These Dukies of Scheyer and Singler and Smith

Don’t hold a jumper

To J.J. and Christian

And then down went Kansas

The Cuse and Kentucky

Scheyer, Singler and Smith?

They musta got lucky


Who cries for Duke? As they face down their David.

Those sweet little Bulldogs, just miles from home

The little basketball team that could

And could 25 times in a row

Till the people start screaming

“It’s Hoosiers, ya know!”

And cheering and laughing and having a ball

Donning their unknown blues

And loving it all

Along with the basketball fans of the nation


Who cries for Duke? A team of passion and skill.

Of heart, guts, expectation and will

Of discipline, athleticism, of sound fundamentals

America’s bad guys

Must deal with the mental

The lingering status as hoops antagonist

Either the villains who ruined the story

Or else they are losers unworthy of glory

Booed should they win, teased should they lose

Widely maligned, shunned and rebuked

That’s just Duke


And so tonight, they take the floor

Ready to rebound, ready to score

With friends, family, Durham behind ‘em

Their enemies everywhere, not hard to find ‘em

And win or lose, they’ll be alone

No bandwagon fans to call their own

No well-wishes from any outsiders

No one to appreciate their moxie or fire

And if they win,

Nobody else to take part in the glee

Not even me

I’m rooting for Butler

Copyright 2010, jm silverstein

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