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Robin Ficker Still Inspiring America's Youth


I'll be honest, this is a staged photo. There were no free throws while I was with the Turtle.


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.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 23, 2009; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Terps , Wizards  
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Next: A Story About Kyrgyzstan and Gilbert

Comments

Red Hot Chili Peppers are also very proud.

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 23, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

EPIC

Posted by: aceetobee | March 23, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Still remember his great bit of dressing up as a poker dealer with a poker table in front of him with a Reserved for M Jordan on an empty chair. Phil Jackson would always move the huddle to midcourt.

Posted by: bulldog23 | March 23, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

IDIOT!

Posted by: tradervic1313 | March 23, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

ALTERNATE-UNIVERSE THEORY #367:
Mr. Pollen built Verizon Center to move away from/price out Robin Ficker.

Posted by: WaPoGuy | March 25, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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