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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, January 4, 2008

By Bethany Bradsher

Pirates inspire new resolutions

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Somewhere between writing revolutionary pamphlets and inventing bifocals, the great Benjamin Franklin found time to say this about our annual passage from one year to the next:

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”

I am, of course, not a man, but the rest of that thought resonates with me. And to that end, I will, whenever possible, strive for harmony with the Pirate Nation in 2008, and when my writing illuminates vices I will try to do battle with them. And so, with the objective of the next new year finding me a better columnist, I will apply myself to the following:

••• To attend at least one East Carolina women’s basketball game this season. I already made this promise once — last March when the Lady Pirates were making history en route to their Conference USA Championship. Junior standout Jasmine Young graciously still gives me quotes despite the fact that I have yet to darken the Minges door during one of her contests. In ’08, I promise to be there.

••• To tread lightly around the topic of Pirate fan behavior. When I interviewed former ECU offensive lineman Eric Graham in October for what I thought was a lighthearted look at homecoming through the lens of an ex-jock, it turned out I was actually handling some incendiary emotions.

To all who were offended: Neither Graham nor I intended to slam the Pirate faithful, and I do not consider even the majority of Dowdy-Ficklen denizens to be drunken, loud or uber-opinionated. But is there any stadium in America that doesn’t harbor a few fans like that?

••• To teach my children to embrace science and history through the lens of a fascinating event like the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck excavation. I’ve been in this business for 16 years, and I’m hard pressed to think of an assignment I’ve enjoyed more than putting together an extensive QAR piece for Bonesville Magazine.

As I interviewed the major players in the discovery, excavation and preservation of the ship and its artifacts, I discovered that I really am interested in subjects like chemistry, marine science and archaeology — pursuits that didn’t always hold my attention inside a classroom. Even though it prompted a pretty bad case of seasickness, I would hitch a ride on that salvage ship again anytime I’m offered the opportunity.

••• To hold fast to this memory: The joy of two six-year-old boys watching ECU triumph in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 23. We let my son Benjamin and his friend Carter stay up to watch the Pirates. The unbridled enthusiasm of the boys, often punctuated by kicking, punching and wrestling during commercials, made even a non-trip to Honolulu seem insignificant.

Did it rank as the most momentous Pirate victory in history? I can’t find it in me to designate it above the 1992 Peach Bowl or the 1999 Miami game. But two things will stay with me from that win: the pounding feet of the boys as they ran down the stairs to announce to my daughters (who were asleep) that ECU had won, and the unprecedented way that, for a short while, East Carolina seemed to own the nation’s fickle sports spotlight.

So, bring on 366 new days for me to observe the comings and goings of Piratedom. This ECU nation is a land that’s rich with unique personalities, singular commitments to excellence and the potential for glimmers like the Hawaii Bowl to become more commonplace.

I resolve this: I’ll try not to miss any of the bright spots.

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01/04/2008 01:03:47 AM

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