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The CourtMaster, Testudo, & the Devil

Hear ye, hear ye! Court is now in session. The eyes of the nation, if not the world, will be upon Cameron Indoor Stadium Thursday night. That will be the sight of the first "Clash of the Titans" in the ACC this season when Maryland visits Duke.

Every writer and his dog will be offering his analysis of this match-up in the next few days. Fortunately, the cats aren't interested; they're sleeping until the Olympic figure skating competition next month. Since I don't have a dog, I wanted to take a different approach with my column. I could have been an intrepid reporter and dug for a story, or I could have relaxed in my chambers and wondered what if…

I interviewed two individuals who are as close to the Duke and Maryland programs as anyone. They are the embodiment of school spirit; Testudo, the Maryland Terrapin mascot, and Duke's Blue Devil.

COURTMASTER: Blue Devil, Coach K was very tough on the team after their loss at Florida State, taking away the chairs and nameplates from their lockers. I heard that filtered down to you.

BLUE DEVIL: That's right, it did. Coach K took away my pitchfork and my horns and said I had to earn them back. I've regained my horns after the Georgia Tech game, but we need to beat Maryland before I get my pitchfork back. No problem.

COURTMASTER: Tesdudo, the Terps have won two straight at Cameron. What's the key to making it three in a row?

TESTUDO: It's really simple CM, we're not scared of going in there. Let their fans chant, let their players slap the floor in their defensive stances, let Coach K pitch a fit, we don't care! Fear the turtle!

BLUE DEVIL: Hey pal, just crawl up in your shell and shut your yap. You guys just got lucky last year when Boozer broke his foot. The year before, we underestimated you. That certainly won't happen this year you little reptile!

TESTUDO: Well at least I'm not running around on the court in my underwear waving an overgrown kitchen utensil. What do you do anyway? Your student section would be loud even if you had a gerbil for a mascot!

COURTMASTER: Hey guys (or girls, I don't want to be sexist) let's not get into mudslinging here. Let's focus on the upcoming game.

BLUE DEVIL: I'll tell you why he wears that stupid shell; he wants protection from the Maryland fans when they are throwing things onto the court at Cole Field House.

TESTUDO: That's right, let's go back to the rowdy fans. Geez, will you let it go! We had a small minority of fans get out of hand. Bet my word, we'll definitely have it under control when you guys come up this year. I'm still upset about losing a sponsorship deal because of a few vandals.

COURTMASTER: What was that?

TESTUDO: I had sold the naming rights to my shell. It was going to be the "Comcast Terrapin Shell." They pulled out after a bonfire following the Final Four melted some of their cable wires near campus. I bet the Devil never had the chance to sell the naming rights to his pitchfork.

BLUE DEVIL: We don't need to do those kinds of things at Duke. However, if someone would like to set up an endowment, I'll call the fork whatever the hell they want. By the way, that fork has won three National Championships. How many has your shell won, Testy?

TESTUDO: Hey, that's in the past. We just look toward the future at Maryland.

BLUE DEVIL: I guess if my team had blown a 10-point lead in the last 54 seconds at home and then lost a 22-point lead at the Final Four, I'd try to forget the past too.

COURTMASTER: Now look what you've done Devil! Come on Testudo, please come out of your shell. We need to wrap this up.

TESTUDO: Sorry, that's somewhat of a reflex. I have some deep psychological scars. It all started when I was a baby turtle…

BLUE DEVIL: Maybe I can help you. I'm an abnormal psychology major.

TESTUDO: Why would you assume I would fall into that category?

BLUE DEVIL: Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's because you run around in a turtle suit?

COURTMASTER: We haven't talked about the game much, but at least I know one thing you two can agree on; Carolina SUCKS!

TESTUDO: You've got that right!

BLUE DEVIL: Amen, my brother! Hey, let's go out for some turtle soup.

TESTUDO: I was thinking more along the lines of deviled eggs.

And with that, these mighty warriors left, arm in arm, in search of food and a deeper understanding…

Well a man can dream, can't he?

That's what I think. Let me know what you think on the message board or by e-mail at

Until next time, court is adjourned!