Maryland Fandom: A Story of Struggle and Strife
The whole international pandemic thing that’s going down forced the 2020 March Madness to be cancelled. Or so you thought.
The NCAA is skipping this year’s tournament at all levels, but /r/CollegeBasketball has sponsored its own alternative Men’s Division I tournament: Reddit March Madness. Streamed exclusively on YouTube and executed with a college basketball video game from almost 15 years ago, this year’s March Madness is sure to be unpredictable and full of really dumb turnovers.
Nothing But Nylon is providing the exclusive* coverage of the event from the bedroom of our headquarters. Don’t miss any of the real* quotes and bone-breaking analysis that you’ll only find here because of how exclusive* this content is.
* = this means you can’t sue me
Reddit March Madness Second Round – 5 Butler 85, 4 Maryland 71
This article was written by Maryland alum and College Park resident Rusty Waldorf. All views are his own.
This is my personal account of the events that occurred April 4, 2020, in College Park, Maryland, following the men’s basketball team’s 85-71 loss to Butler in the second round of Reddit March Madness.
I remember waking up that day like any other day. It was a cloudy, ominous day, with darkness looming around every corner of the city. I got out of bed and had my usual breakfast: cereal with Natty Boh. After saluting and dancing for the Ray Lewis mural in my closet, I left the house and prepped for the big game.
My first stop was Cornerstore, sitting at the bar and listening to other locals talk.
“This is it,” I remember hearing one man say. “If they don’t win this one, Turgeon is dead to me.”
I had to agree with the guy. Being a Maryland fan deep to my core, I find myself often half rooting for the team to win, half rooting for it to lose so the trashing of head coach Mark Turgeon can begin. Either way, as Maryland fans, our misery always gets the best of us.
From there, I went to Terrapin’s Turf, because I felt like attending a half-full dance club in the middle of an afternoon with sweaty and desperately horny college kids.
“Bro, I swear we had econ together freshman year,” said some guy I’d never seen before wearing a backwards hat and a thin, loose short-sleeve button shirt with a light floral design, smiling at me like he just validated my existence.
After quickly realizing the error of my ways, I left the Little Miami of College Park and headed for the final destination: R.J. Bentley’s.
The scenes before tip off were something to behold. Hoards of freshmen, sophomores, and even some juniors, too, covered the inside and outside areas. The stench was all-encompassing, seeping through every pore of my senses. Potential alcoholism, unrelenting hormones and the hypertension that surrounds a large group of people ready to be severely let down created the club’s culture.
Things seemed to be going well for a while. At least, well enough. We were in the game, and there intensity was high. That meant stress levels in Bent’s was surely rising, as was the drunkenness. Some heated arguments over county supremacy nearly turned physical, though cooler heads prevailed.
“Fuck HoCo,” said Aaron Welcher, a privileged kid with no real struggle or identity in his life, so he needs something as artificial as home counties to latch on to. “MoCo for life.”
I struck up a conversation with someone, and we reminisced about Ratsie’s, recounting our favorite Friday Night Fight Nights at the former boxing ring establishment that also served what can legally be called pizza. As that conversation went well, the game did not.
In the second half, Maryland slowly let the game slip through its fingers. Butler opened up a double-digit lead a little more than midway through the second half and never looked back. Kamar Baldwin scored 27 points, and Bryce Golden put up 14 points and 15 rebounds. As a team, the Terps let Butler shoot 9-of-16 from three. Conversely, Maryland was just 6-of-22 from deep.
As it started to unravel, the crowd grew increasingly more angry and desperate. Verbal attacks were sent toward the TVs, and soon batteries made their way to the screens. Before the final buzzer sounded, the carnage already began.
“‘AYALA FOR THREE’ WILL FOREVER HAUNT MY NIGHTMARES!” shouted business major Georgio Mancala as he climbed on top of the bar and began throwing cups, napkins and everything else he could get his hands on into the air, causing mass mayhem.
Escaping Bent’s that night was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It involved a toothpick, several scented candles and a can-do attitude, but I won’t bore you with the details.
Once I stepped out into the street, the gravity of the situation hit closer to home. The very first thing I saw was what appeared to be a freshman pulling himself along the sidewalk with his arms as one of his legs was completely gone, seemingly torn off, as a trail of blood followed behind him.
“He took my leg!” he wailed. “Mark Turgeon took my leg!”
Beyond him stood the masses, blackout drunk and moving with a purpose. Every car in their wake was flipped, and anti-Turgeon graffiti crudely covered the sides of buildings.
This is when I began to fear for my life. This is when I knew that was enough was enough, and that I needed to take my safety and future into my own hands.
That’s why I joined the mob and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of property and severely injured multiple bystanders before being arrested and booked into Prince George’s Country Jail: because Turgeon the Tyrant must be stopped.
Butler will play the winner of No. 1 seed Dayton and No. 8 seed LSU (Saturday at 9:30 p.m. EST) in the Sweet 16. Be sure to follow along with Nothing But Nylon’s comprehensively exclusive* coverage of the 2020 Reddit March Madness.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of each #RedditMarchMadness t-shirt will go toward helping those in the basketball community affected by COVID-19. We will be partnering with non-profits like the Give and Go Foundation on the effort. If you know of a worthy group that could use some extra funds, please reach out.