Alexander and I sat for breakfast in Sydney, Australia in March of 2006. Handed the International Herald Tribune, we were stunned to see the headline referring to a police report from Durham, North Carolina involving Duke lacrosse players. Poor judgment compounded by careless oversight (with plenty of warning; just ask Charlotte Simmons) exaggerated by suppressed hostility between members of the faculty for segments of the student body. Add political opportunism and the guilt of racial suspicion which evolved to an outcome where justice was not served; jobs were lost; reputations ruined, both individually and collectively; with the essential elements of this social disaster retreating to their corners neither corrected nor redeemed. Life does go on and, ultimately, one is responsible to and for oneself.
We enjoyed a gorgeous spring weekend in the RTP; perfect weather to mingle with parents, students and fans of the game. TV dictated that the tournament be played in the UNC football stadium. Fans would have preferred the customary lacrosse field. Duke defeated the #1 ranked Virginia team for the second time in two weeks (the game was over at half-time even though UVA scored within the first 11 seconds and Duke scored 9 seconds later!). Earlier in the evening, UNC defeated Maryland for their first ACC tournament win in many years. On Sunday afternoon, Duke looked to be the better team for the majority of the game and just could not separate from Carolina until time expired.
Our friend volunteered to help coach Duke for this season as he enjoys a respite between his naval service and his civilian career. He was especially proud of a couple of fifth year seniors who opted to remain with the program in order to help it restore some of its much lost luster.
Maybe there is a lesson for us all here as we await the final resting point of our economy (ies) due to our financial hubris. We may chose to forget what got us here or we may forgive (bail-out) everybody in hopes that we’ll be forgiven (bailed-out) and the way back will certainly comprise a just measure of commitment, hard work and little victories which may result in the occasional championship along the way. Chastened but not defeated, humbled but not afraid is working for the men’s lacrosse team at Duke University and may be a helpful remedy for our recent financial failures.