The Weekend Warrior Crashes the ACC Tournament

For those of you not fortunate enough to get to make the trek to this year’s ACC Tournament, the Weekend Warrior gives you an all-access pass to the tourney in Atlanta.  And we mean ALL ACCESS. 
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Click ‘Read more’ to see his running journal… 

Wednesday Night:

I have a 6 AM flight down to Hotlanta so I’m figuring I should probably get to bed pretty early tonight.  I’ve already warned my travel buddy, DuffHokie, to not stay out too late so we aren’t a mess the next day.

8 PM: After a nice dinner with Ms. Weekend Warrior, we head to ESPN Zone.  Need to get the competitive juices flowing.  She’s been talking a lot of trash about how she’s going to dominate me in air hockey.  I warn her I was 2nd-team all-state my senior year.

8:30 PM: I have just completed my victory!  Took her down three games to one in our best of five grudge match.  She even figured out I was tanking it in the fourth game.  I’m a pretty good sport about it.  And now it is time to focus my attention on my specialty: Pop-a-shot.  I can summarize how good I am at that basketball game in two words: the best.  I’ve never lost, ever.

8:35 PM: I had noticed an ESPN Zone employee playing Pop-a-shot earlier and decide to challenge him to a match.  He resists, stating he has to clean up the basketball court room.

8:36 PM: I challenge him again… and it’s on like Donkey Kong.  Now, since he works there and plays probably every day, this should be a challenge for me.  I talk him into playing Classic mode the first game since that is what I’m used to.  In this mode, the hoop stays about 6-8’ away as you shoot regulation size balls at it, then moves back to about 10’ away for three pointers at the end.  He agrees, underestimating me.

8:38 PM: Weekend Warrior 77, ESPN employee 52.  He is stunned.  I am the best.  All hail me!

8:40 PM: He has now talked me into playing Continuous mode where the hoop moves every few seconds.  I have never played this before and he plays this way all the time.  Let’s get it on!

8:42 PM: Weekend Warrior 69, ESPN employee 62.  I find a broom that was sitting nearby and “sweep” him out of the Pop-a-shot.  He is not amused, but must bow before the King!  I am the Lebron James of Pop-a-shot.  Thank you, God, for giving me the gift of meaningless parlor games instead of real, useable athletic ability.

10 PM: Hanging out now for a bit before I head home to get my rest.  Have to get up at 4:20 AM to head to the airport, but hey, it isn’t like I’m flying the plane, I can be tired.

1 AM: Finally heading home.  As I’m getting in my car I’m cursing myself for staying out so late.  Then I REALLY start cursing – the place I was at had not set their clocks since daylights saving occurred FOUR DAYS AGO!  It is really 2 AM!  Ugh.

2:20 AM: Home and in bed…

Thursday

4:20 AM: Seemingly 20 seconds later, my alarm is going off.  Today is going to be a great day, working on two hours sleep.

4:25 AM: I look in the mirror – it looks like my eyes are filled with fruit punch and I got worked over by Mike Tyson.  I am death warmed over.

5:10 AM: Through security and to my gate.  Wishing I had slept an extra 30 minutes at this point.  I’m now pummeling a ham, egg, and cheese biscuit from Subway.  I thought their subs were crappy, but wow, this takes awful to a new level.

5:15 AM: DuffHokie informs me he got four hours of sleep.  So jealous of him.  Combined we have a six-pack of hours of sleep.  This is going to be a fun day.

6:12 AM: We are in the sky!  Look out, ATL, here comes the Weekend Warrior!

6:38 AM: Stewardess asks if she can get me anything.  I say, “Two beers.”  She looks at me curiously.  I clear my throat and go, “Two beers, please.”  Apparently Amstels are the same price as Miller Lite so I decide to take a trip to Europe.  $6 a piece… yeah, that’s right.  DuffHokie gets two vodka drinks. 

6:59 AM: To the rest room.  I realize I am breaking the seal before 7 AM.  This is going to be a long day.

7:06 AM: Stewardess swings back by and informs us that our drinks are on them!  They wish us good luck in the ACC Tournament.  I wish I had ordered four beers at this point.

7:48 AM: As we are getting close to landing, the guy in front of me introduces himself.  He is in a unc hat and had been talking with us earlier.  It is Ty Lawson’s father.  He proceeds to tell that he doesn’t think Ty is playing.  I debate about arm-curling him but decide against it.

7:53 AM: On the ground and off the plane.  Now we just have to take the subway thing they have in the Atlanta airport 6.7 miles to the main concourse. 

8:05 AM: Finally off that stupid thing and heading towards the Atlanta real subway – the MARTA.  I have heard that MARTA is smarta than cabbing.

MARTA tidbit: I have to point something out… when you take the MARTA from the airport, you head on the North/South line which heads directly North.  Yet, in a span of four stops, you go through “East Point” and “West End”.  Um, how is this possible?  You are in the middle of the city, heading due North!  Wow, some real smart people named these places.

8:45 AM: We get off the MARTA at Peachtree Center since our hotel is on Peachtree.  I figure it must be close.  But judging by the address, we have to walk North (probably through West End and East Point).  I look at a map (after we are outside of the station) and realize there are 124 Peachtree streets in Atlanta.  We start walking towards the hotel.

8:58 AM: I tell DuffHokie “Just a little further” for the 15th time.  He is not happy.  It is freezing outside and he has a bum ankle.

9:10 AM: We finally make it to our hotel.  Amazingly, they have a room ready for us.  I guess TechHoops.com guests get special treatment.

9:15 AM: In the room and here is the great debate – do we lay down and rest for a bit, risking not waking up, or head out and about?

9:16 AM: Heading down to the hotel restaurant to get breakfast and booze. 

9:18 AM: Waitress informs us they don’t sell alcohol in the morning.

9:18:01 AM: Asking bellhop where the closest place to get hooch is.

9:21 AM: At the BP gas station across the street buying tallboys (24 oz cans of beer).  DuffHokie wants food now but I tell him the Varsity, which is just across the street, opens in 40 minutes.  I tell him I’ve never been there but it is an Atlanta staple.  It MUST be delicious!  We wait.

9:23 AM: Drinking said tallboys on the side of the interstate by the BP parking lot.  I turn to DuffHokie and ask him, “What makes a man drink tallboys at 9 in the morning?”  DuffHokie, “Alcoholism.”  Well said.  If we were playing by the rules right now we’d be in gym class.

9:58 AM: With two tallboys in the books we head over to the Varsity.  We are waiting to get in along with two uva guys.  The “sheriff” lets us in.  He doesn’t have better things to do?

10:10 AM: Sitting down at what appears to be a high school desk chair with my chili cheese burger and my chili cheese dog and my “onion” rings.  The burger is about as thick as a sheet of paper and looks like Shaq slept on it.  The dog looks like a mauve colored pencil wrapped in soggy bun.  The “onion” rings look like… well, to be honest, I’m still not sure what.  But definitely not onion rings.

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10:22 AM: Done eating.  This was literally the worst food I’ve ever had.  How do they do so much business?  Although, as I look around, I realize everyone in there is here for the tourney – ie: not regulars.  Can you really survive off all one time customers?

10:32 AM: Already on the can in the lobby of the hotel.  Stupid chili dog!  So picture this – DuffHokie and I are both in the men’s room, drinking tallboys, playing games on our cell phones, while releasing awful Varsity food.  We were quite a sight.

10:55 AM: Outside the Georgia Dome!  We still have a Sparks and tallboy to finish before we head in though. 

11:15 AM: Need to find a restroom.  DuffHokie uses the bushes, I go into a trash can outside the arena as discretely as possible.  I make it look like I’m making a phone call while standing within an inch of said trash can.

11:20 AM: In the dome! 

11:22 AM: At the concession stand ordering beers.  “This is a dry tournament.”  Oh, no.  Why is it that everything I go to, like the Shenandoah County Fair, is dry?  We hear about some Executive Club on the Club Level that has hooch.  Since we are on the club level, we head over.  I walk right up to the two people bouncing the special section and say, “How much is it going to cost me to get in there.”  The lady responds, “Not gonna happen.”  The guy responds, “How much we talkin’”  Apparently the people in there donate hundreds of thousands of dollars.  After a brief negotiation period, I give up.

11:30 AM: We get to our seats.  Apparently I’m not as big of a deal in the Hokie Club as I thought.  VT has two sections of seats right at mid-court.  I am in the corner of the end zone – the football end zone.  I am approximately a mile and a half from the court, though, to be fair, the perspective isn’t too bad. 

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FYI: In case you didn’t know this, they seat the schools by how they did in last year’s ACC Tournament.  So VT and duke have the two sections on each side of mid-court on one side (both lost in the semi-finals last year), and unc and clemson have the two sections next to mid-court on the opposite side.  Then you work your way out based on whether you lost in the quarterfinals or first round.  This guarantees unc and duke fans will have the best seats every year.  And if you don’t think that is intentional, you don’t know the ACC.

The layout in the Dome is weird to say the least.  They took the stadium and cut it in half.  The basketball court sits in one end perpendicular to the football field, with the court’s baselines going across the end zone.  They have approximately 40 rows of temporary seats set up on the football field with a tarp behind it.  Then, the rest of the stadium is the football seats except for a few lower seats down on the field to fill in the rest of the gaps between the court and the football seats.  Almost no one is in the upper deck.

The two sections of good Hokie seats are almost full.  My section, which is also Hokies, is maybe 25% Hokies and 50% randoms, with 25% empty.  In the miami section, there are a solid baker’s-dozen fans rooting on the c-a-n-e-s canes.  Great turnout for them.  The upper deck is all but empty all around.

1 PM: One of the great traditions in Hokie sports is continued – shirtless halftime!  DuffHokie and I take our Delaney jerseys off, exposing our bare chests much to the dismay of our section.  But screw them, shirtless halftime is our right as Americans.  I’ll leave out the story of how it started, but let’s just say all Hokies should join in.  For 15 minutes, show the world your pride.  Come on, everyone is doing it!  My buddy texts me to tell me he went to the bathroom at work and took his shirt off in the stall to show his support.

12-2 PM: What can you say?  The Hokies played great!  Where has this been the last month???  I was dreading the possibility that the Hokies might be done by 2 PM on Thursday, but since they survived the first day, now I can sit back and relax.  And with the news from Ty Lawson’s dad that he isn’t playing tomorrow, there’s hope!

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2:24 PM: I decide to sample the food selection here on the club level at the Georgia Dome.  I decide to go with the foot long hot dog, extra thick, and ask the lady to smother it in cheese and chili and sauerkraut. 

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2:34 PM: Back in the bathroom.  I really need to quit adding chili and cheese to stuff.

4:25 PM: georgia tech has upset the c-l-e-m-s-oooooo-n tigers!  The most amusing part of this is several thousand tiger fans made the hour and a half trek down to Atlanta.  The sharks are in the water outside their section – when a team loses in the ACC Tournament, fans that need tickets for the rest of the tournament will hover outside their section hoping they sell off the rest of their allotment in their depressed state.

4:50 PM: Back at the hotel with a six-pack of tallboys.  Sitting on our balcony.  We pulled our furniture out there and we are enjoying the 70 degree weather.  We have a view of the yellow jacket’s football stadium.  We’ll be back in October to take care of business there.

5 PM: DuffHokie and I have a plan for a little prank on the wahoos this evening.  I head back to BP for supplies.  Details to follow…

6:45 PM: Heading back to the dome for night session.  Time to root against maryland and then uva.  First order of business is finding booze to take since it is a dry tournament.  Since the Weekend Warrior gave up liquor, I have to find a way to get beers in and they swipe you with a metal detector as you pass security.  Luckily, I have a proven method: socks.  I wear big maroon socks to VT games.  Normally, it is very easy to tuck airplane bottles into them.  Tallboys?  Not so much.  I had to roll them down to about mid-calf, then tuck one tallboy into each sock about 50% of the way down.  DuffHokie has a glass pint of bourbon with plastic lid on his back.

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6:58 PM: Walking bow-legged past security.  My ankles are FREEZING.  If I had any ankle injuries, they should be nice and iced down by now.  We both make it past them without a hitch – they only swipe your upper half.  Once again, the Weekend Warrior has dominated a staff member.

7:48 PM: First half of the maryland/nc state game is over.  Time for DuffHokie to spring into action.  Now, here’s the gag – around the ring of the club level they have a gigantic 100 foot long banner with each school’s name and logo on it.  He has two pieces of duct tape pre-arranged into the VT-style ‘T’ taped to his coat.  He pulls it off, walks down to where the uva ‘v’ is, leans over like he’s looking for someone in the lower level, and attaches it.  It was a thing of beauty!  The ‘T’ lasted at least until the finals.  I begin snapping photographs from strategic locations.   We then have a plan to meet at a pre-set location.  If he doesn’t make it, I start scrapping up bail money.

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8 PM: DuffHokie and I meet up and sit in the duke section on the other end of the Dome.  I look over at the now VT.  I giggle.

8:01 PM: I giggle again.  We are legends, up there with the guy that painted the T on their football field three years ago and the guy that scratched the VT into their basketball court.

9 PM: maryland wins.  Ugh.

10:30 PM: We decide to leave once bc has the hoos safely put away.  Head to a bar near our hotel.  The bartender proceeds to make fun of us for eating at the Varsity.  I inform him it was my first and last trip there.  He’s not surprised.

11:50 PM: Back in the hotel room watching the uconn/cuse thriller.  The first OT has just ended.  I have now been awake for 41 of the last 43 hours, but I want to see how this game comes out.

Friday

10 AM: I guess I didn’t make it through the game.  I am quite happy about that now that I’ve learned it went 6 OTs.

10:05 AM: At the BP buying tallboys and an energy malt liquor.  NOT going to the Varsity, that’s for sure.  I do buy chili cheese Fritos though just to stick with the theme of the weekend.

11:15 AM: We have just finished our tallboys and beverages and heading over to the game.  unc, here we come!

11:20 AM: The cabby is blasting Vietnamese dance music.  I turn to DuffHokie and say, “I have this on CD if you want to borrow it later.”

11:50 AM: It is almost game time.  Lawson is in a boot, ie: not playing.  That’s good.  There are probably 10k unc fans in the Dome already.  That’s bad.  Vassallo cannot miss in warm-ups.  That’s good.  50% of the people in the two good VT sections are unc fans.  That’s bad.  Seriously, all our fans from yesterday sold their seats?  What were they thinking?  unc has us, and just about every other school, outnumbered 9-to-1.  I now hate unc. 

Note: The ‘T’ is still proudly sitting next to the uva symbol on the banner.

1 PM: Shirtless halftime!  The section is really starting to like it, but no additional members yet.

12-2 PM: It is déjà vu all over again.  Just like a year ago, we crush miami in our first game and lose a heartbreaker we led most of the way to unc in our second game.  Good bye NCAA Tournament. 

During the game, every time we tried to start a “Let’s Go” “Hokies” chant, it failed miserably.  After we lose, the guy next to me, a unc fan, starts chanting “Go Home” “Hokies”.  We hadn’t said a thing to him the whole game.  The guy could be a stunt double for Al Gore.  So I start yelling at him, “You are a real class act, Al Gore.”  DuffHokie is amused.  I’m not.  I sit there stunned we lost for 15 minutes.  And I now hate unc fans worse than anything.  So cocky and arrogant.

3 PM: Decide to leave.  No more basketball today.  That means more tallboys on the balcony, except it is just me out there today.  DuffHokie is resting.  I decide to go down to the lobby with two of my tallboys connected by one of those six-pack plastic thingys.  I’m alternately drinking each one by tilting it, while holding the other in place.

3:05 PM: I sit in the lobby to the far end, sipping my tallboys.

3:06 PM: I have been asked to leave the lobby.  I go back up to the room.  Everyone is picking on me.

5 PM: We decide the best way to salvage the day is to head to the Cheetah, a “gentleman’s” club, about a half mile from the hotel.

5:00:01 PM: Asking bellhop if the [boob] club is walkable – answer: “Oh, yeah.”

5:15 PM: Inside I am struck by the number of unc fans in the place.  Again, we are outnumbered 9-to-1.  Here I thought this would be my way to forget the game.  I realize victory boob-club is just as popular as consolation boob-club.  Just different reasons.  And since my Mom reads this site let’s just go ahead and skip to Saturday at this point…

Saturday

Another 10 AM wake up call for us.  We’ve decided to fly back tonight and just sell our tickets for the finals.  But I’m rooting for fsu first.  I can’t wait to see unc lose.

10:05 AM: I realize it is raining and I left our cushioned chair on the balcony.  Uh oh, there goes the deposit.  Speaking of money, why do I have so many $1s in my wallet???

10:30 AM: DuffHokie and I decide we aren’t drinking today. 

11:15 AM: Having tallboys in the lobby bathroom playing cell phone games.  And this time it is shirtless halftime!  Yeah, so much for a dry day.

11:50 AM: Checking out of the hotel.  I realize there are 10 empty tallboy cans on the balcony.  I guess several blew off.

1 PM: Back at the dome.  Al Gore is back again today sitting across from me.  And the ‘VT’ is still in tact.

1:45 PM: Every Hokie in the joint is rooting for fsu.  Apparently they all have similar experiences as me with cocky, arrogant unc fans.

3:30 PM: The noles win!  As the fsu band plays the chop song, I start singing, “Goooooo Home, Al Gorrrrrre.  Goooooo Home, Al Gorrrrrre!”  It feels so good.  Revenge is a dish best served cold.  I don’t want to taunt the other unc fans, since they did nothing to me, but an eye for an eye is fine in my book.

His wife starts yelling at me (yes, he’s married and still a big jerk).  I can’t hear her, don’t care.  What could she say?  NIT?  Yeah, well I can’t hear her over our back-to-back ACC football titles, something they sure as heck aren’t doing in basketball now.

3:55 PM: DuffHokie gets the “Dirty Bird,” a buffalo chicken sandwich.

3:58 PM: DuffHokie is literally dripping sweat.  I cannot stop laughing at him.  Duff likes his chicken spicy!

4:05 PM: DuffHokie is headed to the men’s room.  Imodium stock is going through the roof this weekend.

5 PM: Amazingly we manage to sell our tickets for the finals for face to friends of DuffHokie.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them they probably could have gotten tickets for the price of a six pack of tallboys tomorrow since half the crowd is unc fans and they lost.

6:00 PM: duke beats maryland.  I’ll take it.  I really hate maryland people since I live in the DC area.  Now I don’t have to listen to them talk smack… eh, they will still probably talk trash about making the Big Dance while we are likely headed to the NIT.

7 PM: MARTA is smarta!  Headed to the airport.  This annoying uva fan in khakis with two kids (also both in khakis) is driving me crazy.  Upon hearing his plane has been delayed, he starts debating about whether he should take the train or rent a car and drive back to charlottesville.  Are you kidding me?  I move away from him.

10:40 PM: Finally taking off on what was supposed to be a 9 PM flight.

12:15 AM Sunday – land in DC.  The weekend is finally over.  Thank God.

Superlatives:

Hottest cheerleaders/dance team: fsu followed by clemson (fsu didn’t even bring cheerleaders, just their smoking hot tall blonde dancers who will probably be working at Cheetah in a few months).

Nicest fans: fsu – of course, winning will do that to you

Fans who increased my hate of them the most: unc, no contest

Favorite Moment: The ‘T’ being slapped up on the uva symbol

Worst Moment: Eating at Varsity… no, I think I’ll put the unc loss ahead of this, but only by a little.

New Favorite ATL spot: BP (I had already been to Cheetah)

Alright, Georgia Dome, see you in early September!  Hopefully I will have regained some of my innocence and dignity back by then.

This post was written by:

- who has written 18 posts on Tech Hoops.


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  • http://www.techsideline.com/ Will Stewart

    Outstanding report, WW. Try to learn to enjoy yourself, okay? :)

    Thanks for representing the Hokies, and the modified V-T is a classic. Well done.

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