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My mom has been a Duke fan for 20 years – since she took them in her office pool to win the NCAA back in 1990. They lost to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels that year. It turned out  that UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian was a serial cheater, so MoC never lost faith in her Blue Devils. Also, they had pretty uniforms and blue has always been her favorite color.

In 1991 Duke beat our arch nemesis Kansas to become the NCAA champion. That was a sweet, sweet victory because we all know how I feel about Kansas. It’s so bad that I actually forget Kansas exists. Last night, I was trying to name the 9 states that border Missouri and I could only get to 8. MoC was mocking me as usual and telling me that it had to be 9 because I said it was 9 and she believed everything I said because she trusted me. I finally got online to look it up. Neither one of us had remembered Kansas. We just block it out entirely.

The next year, 1992 if you’re keeping track, MoC put all her eggs in the Duke basket.  The office pool was on the line again and some of her coworkers were mocking her (I know, they weren’t very bright) for taking Duke again.  Pools are scored by points – the more games you win, the more points you get and each round is worth more points. MoC’s teams dropped like flies. All she had left was Duke. All her hopes were riding on Christian Laetner, Grant Hill and a funny-lookin’ kid named Bobby.

The only way MoC could win the office pool was if Duke won.  It was an exciting game against Kentucky in the regional final, a real nail-biter and Duke took it to overtime. With 2.1 seconds left, Duke was down by one point, 103-102.  I’ll just show you what happened.

That shot took Duke to the Final Four and the championship against Michigan. It ended up being worth $180 to MoC – back in ’92 when a dollar had some purchasing power.

Now fast forward all the way to 2010. Neither of us are in an office pool this year, so we decided to bet each other.  We filled out the brackets and bet straight up. When it got to the point (at the quarter finals) where she didn’t have a team left to beat me, she paid up. Because she’s a good sport. But we’re gamblers at heart, so we made a new bet on the Final Four.  We did it fair and square. I wrote the names of the schools on little pieces of paper and we drew names.

This is what I ended up with.

MoC ended up with Butler and … Duke. Of course.  She won both games and now I owe her $2.  This morning we were talking about the games and discussing the new bet for the championship game on Monday. I told her that I would take Butler in the final  because A) I like underdogs and B) I know Duke is her team.  She said, “No, we’ll draw. I don’t trust you.”  😛  What?

There’s another reason we have to have another bet. MoC needs to redeem herself. After 20 years, after heartaches and loss, after thrilling victories … for the first time in the history of ever,  MoC didn’t take Duke in our little pool. I know she feels bad.  She should be ashamed of herself.  Coach K would be devastated if he knew of her betrayal. And even if Coach K doesn’t know, Jesus knows.

I'm sorry, Coach K. And Jesus.

Click to embiggen for better detail.

Update: After a delicious Easter dinner, I wrote Duke on one piece of paper and Butler on another. We folded them up and put them in a hat. My brother shook it up and handed the hat to my grandfather. He drew a name and handed it to me and MoC got the other piece of paper. We opened them at the same time.

She got Duke.  How does she do that?????