For Some, Great Expectations
I meant to write about my early-morning visit to the Breakfast with Fridge last week, but it’s been a busy and maddening time. Anyway, Ralph Friedgen held his second breakfast with supporters on the Friday before the N.C. State game. I was pretty curious about it, so I checked it out, arriving at the hotel in College Park before the sun rose. For the most part, an older, loyal demographic turned out. There were roughly 70 supporters in the auditorium to hear Friedgen speak. One guy sat front row in a hard hat. Someone whispered to me that Friedgen normally gets more than 100 fans for these breakfasts. The audience offered light applause as Friedgen walked toward the stage.
Friedgen talked about many things: the loss of Kevin Barnes, the possibility of becoming bowl eligible and the upcoming arrival of his new blog. But I found the question-and-answer session to be the most interesting. An adult man who sat in the first few rows, wearing an Orioles cap, asked Friedgen something about when Maryland would win the national title. They went back and forth a little, and Friedgen asked the man if he went to the Wake Forest game. The man said no. Friedgen told him to buy some tickets. The man, who seemed to be losing patience with the team’s inconsistent ways, asked another question or two. Friedgen answered them the best he could; the two shook hands afterward. I wondered whether the man represented the typical Maryland fan or not, but that’s hard to measure. I was surprised more fans did not turn out to see a team that was, and still is, in strong contention for the Atlantic Division title.
But over the past five years in D.C., I have had a hard time getting a read on exactly how much passion the fan base has for this team and what its realistic expectations are. Are most fans like the fan at the breakfast eyeing a national title? Or do most fans think an occasional run at the ACC title is a realistic goal?
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