EC who? Fridge leads Maryland one last time


I was taken aback when I thought I had magically time-traveled to the Eighteenth century Caribbean. My car doesn’t have a flux-capacitator, does it? We didn’t even hit eighty-eight miles per hour!

Jolly Rogers flying as far as the eye can see. Pirates?! We weren’t supposed to think about Swashbucklers until we got one as our new head coach next year.

OK, back to reality. I’m here in the District at RFK Stadium and maybe we just parked in the wrong lot. There can’t be THAT many ECU fans, right?

I felt uncomfortable waiting to have my ticket scanned when all I could hear was the call and response of Purple! – Gold! — Purple! – Gold!

I felt absolute anxiety pre-game; a sense that the Friedgen era might go out with a “told-you-so” and a disappointing, paper-bag-over-the-head loss on what should have been home turf.

I started to lose hope when, as a Terp fan, my sure hope for an uncertain future, Danny O’Brien, threw a pick into triple coverage on the first play of the game.

********

And then everything fell into place; four rushing TDs by DJ Adams, Da’Rel Scott reminding us of what he is capable of, smart game control by Danny, and an inspiring tough goal line stand reminiscent of how the Terrapin turn-around year started.

What, me worry?

It was exactly what we all wanted and exactly what Coach Friedgen needed.  Seeing our beloved coach come over to our sideline at the end of the game surrounded by the media, security, all our Terps, and a few courageous fans who had jumped onto the field brought a mile-wide smile to my face that I’ll remember for years to come.

Bittersweet? Absolutely. But it could have been so much worse.

Thanks, Pirates, for walking your plank and being the chum for the blood-thirsty Terrapins, though they were the team sporting red, but who were eager to send Ralph off with a big bang. And that they did.

The Military Bowl, after the announcement of the opponents, should have been renamed the Brunswick Bowling-Ball-Shaped-Coach Bowl. Bowl names are supposed to be as long and ridiculous as possible now, right? Side Note: Ruffin McNeill makes the new-look Fridge look like one of those teeny-weeny refrigerators we used in college dorms that couldn’t even hold enough beer for the weekend.

EC Who? I didn’t know the US had accepted a fifty-first state into the union. Oh that’s right, you’re a C-USA school thinking you could come into our neck of the woods and beat us with flash and dash. I guess it’s fitting really. After all, Pirates don’t carry shields; they just try to crash the party of others with no regard for their own well being. Not this time. This is our house.

What I loved most about the experience at RFK wasn’t the Redskins/Nationals nostalgia, the electricity of the stadium, or the fact that I hadn’t seen a football game there since I was eight years old. What was awesome was how the fans were precisely and physically divided.

Us vs. Them. 50 percent Terps, 50 percent Pirates.

There wasn’t a single Pirate in our section or any surrounding section. The “others” were all the way across the field. The only thing I can really compare it to is a high school football game. It was dramatic to see a sea of Red behind the Terps side of the field and an ugly mix of Purple and Gold behind the ECU side. No one really sat in the end zone sections. It was ideal.

If the powers that be at UMD don’t get Mike Leach, they will appear foolish. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

As a DC sports fan, I’ll take a 9-4 record, a bowl appearance, and an entertaining Winter Wednesday afternoon every year. It’s the best thing in town. Farewell Fridge, I know I’ll miss you.

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