Robin Ficker Still Inspiring America's Youth
Robin Ficker's spot in the D.C. Hall of Athletic Oddities and Fame is secure, but it's nice to see the name still has meaning. Earlier this month, he was mentioned on MSNBC, and as always, he's running for some sort of public office. And now, it turns out that he's also provided the inspiration for fans of Ivy League women's college basketball teams. Who knew?
Two separate people e-mailed two separate Washington Post employees during yesterday's Maryland-Dartmouth game, asking what was with the dude standing up behind the Maryland basket and reading loudly from a bright green book during Terps free throws. Here's your answer.
His name is Elliot, he's an '04 Dartmouth grad and student of sports fandom, and a serious backer of both the Dartmouth men's and women's teams. As a Big Green basketball fan, you have to be creative due to a lack of peer support; "you can't just be one person by yourself making random noise; you've got to do something a little different," he told me.
So when he was in school, Elliot thought back to Ficker's classic stunt where he'd loudly read unflattering bits from "The Jordan Rules" whenever MJ came to the Cap Centre as a heckling technique. He figured the Dartmouth equivalent would be to loudly read from Stephen Vincent Benet's short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster," the latter being one of Dartmouth's most famous grads or something like that.
(Note to Mom and Dad: Thanks again for not sending me to an Ivy League school.)
(Note to Ivy League grads: Joking, joking. Now can you fix the economy please?)
Anyhow, Dr. Seuss was also a Dartmouth guy--"class of '25," Elliot told me--so at some point in his career he started reading some of Seuss's volumes during Big Green games. "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," except for Harvard games, when he read "Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose," because Harvard is mentioned in there. Something about getting Thidwick's antlers "for the Harvard club wall." Man I'm poorly read.
The Big Green never did much while Elliot was in school, men's or women's, so his trick never made it to the Big Dance. But now Dartmouth was in the women's tournament, and the brackets came out, and the Big Green was/were playing Maryland, and Elliot was able to travel down from New York, and Maryland is called the Terps, and there's this other book called "Yertle the Turtle" that's actually the perfect manual for a 16th-seed, it being about how the lowliest little grunt can bring down a king, putting royalty in the mud, etc. etc. Within a half-hour after the brackets came out, the plan was hatched. Hoo.
So for anyone who wondered why a Dartmouth fan was standing behind the Maryland basket, switching ends at halftime, and loudly reading from Yertle The Turtle yesterday afternoon, that's why. Be proud, Robin Ficker, be proud.
March 23, 2009; 4:46 PM ET
Categories: College Basketball , Terps , Wizards
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