“Here I go: ‘Florida exhausted battle a few weeks ago,’ ” my grandma Audrey Versteeg begins. ” ‘But this anniversary the Dukies affectionate of blanket the show.’ “
She’s account one of abounding balladry she wrote trash-talking Battle men’s basketball.
The Plumlee assemblage helped Battle win.That absolutely didn’t accomplish me grin.
My grandma started commitment these balladry to my sister about 2010. My grandma isn’t about anymore so to advice me bethink how it all started, I alleged my aunt Dian. She lived bottomward the alley from my grandma in South Dakota and helped out with everything, including the TV.
“Whenever March Madness came around, she’d go, ‘OK, so which amateur can I watch tomorrow?’ ” Dian recalls. “So I’d alpha attractive them up. ‘Well, you can go to CBS and watch this bold at 2 o’clock, or if you appetite to watch Iowa you go to this approach at this time.’ “
“Do you bethink if she abounding out brackets?” I ask.
“Oh, she would never aces Battle to win,” Dian responds. “Even if they were the No. 1, top berry of everybody, it did not matter. She best them to lose every distinct time, aboriginal bold out.”
The Composition That Started It All
But as a jailbait in the ’90s, my sister, Tremaine, admired Battle alike admitting we lived in Iowa.
“I was in aerial academy and played basketball, and the Battle aggregation had some players that were absolutely beautiful and on top of it they were absolutely good,” Tremaine says. “So I was like, ‘This was my team!’ Mike Dunleavy and Shane Battier absolutely stick out as two who, I thought, ‘They’re great.’ “
“Did you anticipate they were cute?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says with a laugh, “which is awkward to admit.”
Our grandma abhorred the Dejected Devils for the aforementioned acumen my sister admired them: They were good. Consistently good.
“And she thought, ‘Nope. Don’t like you. You attending cocky, or you attending too confident.’ ” Tremaine recalls. “And she anticipation their amulet — ’cause it actually is a devil — that that was amiss and blasphemous. Like, ‘Why would you anytime accept a devil as a mascot?’ “
Throughout the backward ’90s and aboriginal 2000s, my grandma and Tremaine would chaff anniversary added about Battle whenever we visited her in South Dakota. Again one Christmas, Tremaine sewed our grandma a pillow out of an old Battle T-shirt. About 2010, Tremaine beatific the aboriginal poem.
“I beatific her a card, and I absitively I was activity to address a little brace in there. And again all of abrupt she responded, and I was like, ‘Whoa! What — what’s accident here?’ “
Dear Tremaine, actuality is my assessment of the Battle bold on Sunday.
Trying to acquisition article to watch on TVThe Florida–Duke bold articulate acceptable to me. So I got my airheaded and can of cokeHoping the bold would not be a jokeNeither acme nor activity could advice battle winAnd they couldn’t get the brawl to go in.Watching Battle get exhausted was greatEspecially back it’s the aggregation I hate.Love, Grandma V
‘Well, At Atomic Battle Rhymes With Puke’
To put her balladry together, our Grandma took active bold notes.
“She would accept her cardboard and pencil out,” Dian recalls. “Her little agenda pad that said ‘Audrey Versteeg’ at the top. So if a Battle amateur befuddled somebody, she would accomplish a agenda or try to address a band of poetry. And she consistently capital to rhyme.”
I bethink my grandma already saying, “Well, at atomic Battle rhymes with puke. That’s easy.”
“Because who would anticipate the chat ‘puke’ would appear out of your grandmother’s mouth?” Dian says. “That was not her personality to do that. But for this she took on a altered personality.”
Oh, Dukies! Oh, Dukies! You accepted me so right!You’re not a aggregation that can put up a fight. Your name ability still be about on the listBut boilerplate at the cardinal you wished!
‘Go, Duke! Signed, Drillmaster K’
Most balladry included a jab at Duke’s arch coach, Mike Krzyzewski, accepted as “Coach K.”
Virginia was orange. Battle was blue.Coach K looked like he had the flu.
“She’d consistently allocution about his scowl,” Tremaine says. “She would watch a Battle bold on TV, and they would, you know, pan to the bank and appearance a abutting up. And if he had his duke on his achievement or any array of abrogating vibe, she would booty the actual continued Norwegian arrow feel of chastening and aloof affectionate of wag it at him. ‘No, no, no. You bigger stop that.’ “
So one time, Tremaine beatific an added appropriate surprise.
“I thought, you know, we charge to booty this up a notch,” Tremaine recalls. “So I alleged the bounded grocery abundance and asked for a white and dejected boutonniere of flowers.”
When Dian chock-full by Grandma’s, as she did best nights, the boutonniere was appropriate on the kitchen counter.
“I absolved in, and I go, ‘Well attending at these flowers!’ ” Dian recalls. “And she goes, ‘Read the card.’ “
It read: “Dear Audrey, Thanks for all your abutment over the years. I heard you are a big fan. Go, Duke! Signed, Drillmaster K.”
“I started to laugh,” Dian says. “And she goes, ‘I anticipate Tremaine is abaft this.’ And again she giggled. So again grandma in about-face would say, ‘I gotta address a poem.’ “
Most TV announcers best Battle to lose!I admiration area they got their clues?Coach K took off his anorak but not his tie.Do you accept he capital to cry?With appropriate “thoughts,” Grandma V.
Grandma and Tremaine exchanged balladry in the mail for bristles or six years. But as our grandma got older, her autography afflicted — from cursive to book to craven scratch.
A attach in the eye,Taking a ablution in lye,Mauled by a pit bull,Coughing a fitful,Sleeping with a rattlesnake,Stepping on a rake.All of this rebukeIs adopted over Duke.
“That was one of the aftermost ones I received,” Tremaine says. “I apperceive she didn’t physically address it. It’s aloof not her handwriting. It aloof became harder for her to address independently, and I apparently wrote her added appear the end. I knew she would adore accepting it, and it was still appropriation her alcohol in some way or authoritative her day alike if she didn’t respond.”
‘Treasured Artifacts And Memories’
My sister keeps the balladry in a canvas box in her nightstand.
“I beggarly they’re admired artifacts and memories,” she says. “It was fun to accept that appropriate band and accord that was aloof the two of us. And I adulation them. I beggarly — it did backpack over to added genitalia of our life, area I accept a composition of my bells shower, for our wedding. And again I do like to brainstorm to myself, like — because she never knew that I was activity to accept a kid — what the babyish battery composition ability accept been.”