Amanda and I went to church first thing. Andra was going to go with us but she didn’t get out of the shower in time.

We got home to my Mom making waffles and cake. (The waffles were breakfast of course, along with some eggs and sausage- the cake was for later.) Erin monopolized Chris for a while to give him some financial consulting while everyone but me, Amanda and Jackson went to go pick up my parents’ new TV. Adam’s boss was selling a 65″ projection HDTV for $600 because it wouldn’t fit in his new home. I thought about getting it, but I’m glad Dad was able to get it. I can’t wait to see it next time I go to Rougemont.

I plugged up Michael’s Wii and put in Wii Sports. Dad and Erin boxed. Erin won narrowly, but it was later discovered that Dad was holding one of his controllers backwards. After that Dad, Josh and I played some golf. While we were doing that, Mom, Andra and Amanda went to look at Shell Island as a possible place to hold the wedding reception. Erin was supposed to go but I guess they got tired of waiting for her, and they were running late besides.

While we were finishing up on the Wii the Mercers- Phil, Karen and Michael, plus my brother Adam’s girlfriend Renee Sikes, all arrived. (Adam had Reserves duty this weekend.) The other ladies got back not long after and we had cake and opened presents. I got a hammock from the Mercers, and I’ve known for months where in the backyard I was going to put it, some graphic tees from Express from Amanda, plus an as of yet undetermined gift, and some Duke stuff from my parents- two shirts and a jacket. I told them after I opened it- “Wow! I wasn’t expecting a Duke shirt because I wasn’t sitting next to Amanda when I told her to call you yesterday to ask you to get me one!” The extra shirt and jacket were a nice surprise though. I joked that between all of that, the hat I always wear, the flag out front, the autographed poster in the office and the house key, that it looked like a Blue Devil had puked all over me.

We watched a bit of basketball- mainly watching Kentucky get beat by Florida. My dad was disgusted enough by it that he didn’t even want it on for the last few minutes. Everyone who stood a chance of beating Carolina out for the ACC regular season title lost either today or yesterday, making it more important for Duke to win later on.

They lost, to go ahead and get that out of the way. I figure it’s my fault for all the shirts and such, plus Bruce wasn’t wearing his collar.

Anyway, we played some more Wii golf (I lost the last time, won this time) and just about everyone took off. I think it was a bit of a relief to Bruce and the cats. We went from thirteen people, three dogs and two cats down to six people, one dog and two cats in a matter of minutes.

A couple of Erin’s friends came by to take her off to hang out and Andra, Josh and Jackson went to Jungle Rapids to play mini golf and whatnot and Renee took off. So then we were down to just two people. It felt a little odd. We were, of course, invited to go to Jungle Rapids. I sort of laughed, and Renee asked if I could just record the game and watch it later, to which I laughed even more. The biggest game of the year thus far, the one you’ve been working yourself up to watching (on your birthday) for a month now, you don’t record a game like that and watch it later. I don’t like doing that for any game, although it is nice getting through the commercials so quickly.

So the game came on. I missed the first few minutes of it because the HD channel was showing the end of a different game. As that one dragged on I decided to check the non-HD channel, and it was on there. I later switched back to the HD.

Duke led once in the game- when it was 2-0. Carolina then went on a run, Duke proceeded to turn the ball over and just plain miss shots for a while. In the second half they got it back to within two points, but then Carolina went on a run again. It was very disheartening. I think they need to just quit playing on my birthday.

So I was mostly okay with Duke losing. It wasn’t out of the question going into the game. Towards the end Duke was still fighting, but Carolina was still going up for baskets, which, of course, irked me. Then, after Tyler Hansbrough rebounded a basket and went up for a dunk with something like 12.5 seconds left, something happened that will forever be etched in the Duke-Carolina history books. Gerald Henderson went up to block Tyler Hansbrough’s shot. At the same time, Steve Johnson (I think that’s his name- he’s played one minute all season and that came during this sequence) was already fouling Hansbrough. Henderson went up a little too hard and his swat missed the ball (as it was already out of Hansbrough’s hands from Johnson’s foul- but after Henderson had taken to the air) and he ended up hitting Hansbrough.

Normally it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but Hansbrough was on the ground and when he came up he was bleeding profusely from the nose. After about forever minutes of conferring by the refs, Henderson was called for some combination of a flagrant, intentional and combative foul and ejected from the game. Because of that, he’s suspended from the next game, which is the first game of the ACC tournament.

I was livid. The loss, I was dealing with. Ejecting Henderson on what was obviously an accident (not saying he wasn’t trying to foul at all, but he obviously didn’t mean to knock Hansbrough like he did) and suspending him a game was just entirely uncalled for, I thought. Everyone had always said that Henderson was a good kid. I talked to Michael, my Carolina fan brother-in-law, and he didn’t think it was intentional. My friend Jason Revill wasn’t as upset about it as I thought he’d be, but boy was Elliot Clark. We were incensed. We were basically yelling at each other about it over the phone. Hell, even Amanda was on the phone calling friends of hers about it. (Have I mentioned lately how proud I am to have gotten her to care so much about basketball at this point?)

By that time we were a little late in leaving the house to meet Andra, Josh and Jackson at Two Guys Grill on College. I noticed after I left the house that I still had on full Duke regalia, and I internally defied anyone to make an issue about it. Josh actually started to tease about it and I told him not to do that.

On the way to the grill, while still seething, Amanda handed me the phone to talk to her grandparents, who were wishing me a happy birthday. Her grandfather, Earl Lemons, was giving me suggestions on fixing something stubborn about the downstairs sink, which, as much as I love Amanda’s grandparents, wasn’t what I wanted to discuss at the time.

After we ate we went on back to the house. I spent a little time checking out the message boards. There was so much traffic on the Duke message board that I couldn’t get on for a while and had to resort to reading the Carolina boards. The messages were all basically talking about what a thug Henderson is and how he obviously (with his head and body turned away from Hansbrough and his eyes closed) went in to clock Hansbrough. Sure, he had the best game of his career so far, Henderson did, and he thought it’d be a great idea to cap it off by breaking the Tar Heels’ star player’s nose. (News came out that it wasn’t actually broken, but man I want to see Hansbrough wearing one of those doofy nose guards. And get the kid some goggles or laser eye surgery while you’re at it- I’m tired of him losing a contact every game. But don’t get me wrong- I wouldn’t wish any serious injury on anybody.)

Here’s one thing that bothers me about this. On just about every YouTube video of the incident I’ve seen, and on most of the replays they’re now showing on TV, you only see two angles, neither of which show you Henderson’s body or face, which, as I said, were away from Hansbrough.

I guess I’ll get over it.

Oh, Greg Paulus had a really good game too. Not so much for Josh McRoberts and DeMarcus Nelson. I wish the rest of the team would catch onto the fire of Paulus and Henderson.

Thirty years: T minus 366 days and counting. (Amanda pointed out that next year is a leap year, so I get to put off being 20 years old a whole extra twenty-four hours next year.)

Zach Dotsey