Saturday, January 12, 2008

JANUARY IS TAH J.J. REDICK APPRECIATION MONTH

Yeah, we know there are only 19 days left, but let’s not get ALL carried away.

So, from the beginning…

We may have occasionally made a little fun of J.J. over the years, but that’s what happens to pasty white sharp shooters from Roanoke who go to Duke where Dickie V shoves them down everybody’s throat for four seemingly endless years. Simply put, if he wasn’t so damn good, we wouldn’t have cared. You don’t see us makin’ fun of Brian Zoubek, now do you?

By now, we’re sure (translation: we hope), J.J. can appreciate a laugh or two at his own expense. Hey, it comes with the territory, yes? You can’t go out and incinerate the nets night after night for a super high profile program like Duke, and not catch some flack. Especially from your primary rival -- not that TAH is biased toward the 2005 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions and current #1 team (not to mention undefeated) University of North Carolina Tar Heels in anyway (for the record).

We tease, because we love…and we love shovelin’ it at Duke, the Crazies and Coach Krzyfhgbv4ski whenever we get the chance. And we would be horribly disappointed if they didn’t shovel right back! Individually, we love our Dookies – Chainsaw, Grande Vino, Grey Carr – one and all. They’re misguided, but we love ‘em anyway.

(Eric, Pam, Patrick, Tom and Chris Gay)

So, with that mild disclaimer aside, let’s begin…

These days Redick is chillin’ down in Orlando with Tiger and the boys rackin’ up $2 mill a year playing for the Magic. Now, that’s a sweet gig.

Enter the Gay family of Warrenton, VA. Last summer, their son Patrick was tragically killed in a hit and run accident in Charlotte. In an incident bizarrely reminiscent of the one that took the life of UNC mascot Jason Ray, Patrick was struck by a drunk driver while walking back from a bar with several other kids to a friend’s house to crash for the night. Patrick had just graduated from James Madison University in May, taken

(PHOTO RIGHT: Eric, J.J., Chris and Sam)
his first job with Lending Tree, and had only been in Charlotte for two weeks. No doubt, he was planning on attending a few of the Blue Devils games from his new headquarters.

You see, Patrick and his brothers Chris and Eric and their good buddy Sam Kettering were very SERIOUS Duke fans. (The Gays are a very nice family. Wonderful people -- so we have no idea how this happened. We blame the Coach K-obsessed media and American Express.)

Patrick and the boys were also HUGE J.J. Redick fans as all white guy three point shooters should be. Patrick was buried with J.J. authentic Duke #4 and Magic #7 jerseys. Like we said, the kid was serious about it.

Along the way, from various friends of the Gay family, J.J. got wind of this tragic story and Patrick’s dedication to the Blue Devils and his obsession with all things Redick. Eric Gay sent J.J. an email via J.J.’s Blog, and, to his credit, Redick responded almost immediately.

After a brief exchange, J.J. invited the fellas (Chris and Eric Gay, and Sam Kettering) down to Orlando to attend a Magic game. J.J. paid for everything -- flights, hotel, games tickets, food and beverages. First class move there.

They got together in an Orlando tavern on Thursday night to watch the unfortunate demise of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Orange Bowl. Eric is a Hokie junior, Chris graduated from Tech in ‘05, and Sam is a senior at Boston College.

The next night, the three amigos went to the Magic game along with Tiger and other Orlando-based celebs. Their seats were 3 rows behind the Magic bench. (Note the cool credentials.) A little bar action after the game with J.J., and all is right in the world. Well, at least as right as it can be under the circumstances.

Patrick’s aunt and uncle made up some green wrist bands to honor Patrick, and the Gay family and friends all wear them proudly. So does J.J. – on his shooting (that’s the right one for any of you who have forgotten what Redick drillin’ a jumper from 20 feet looks like) hand.

In their first interview (a TAH EXCLUSIVE) conducted via email with dad Tom, Chris, Eric and Sam all said Redick was simply “awesome.”

That’s good enough for us. Congrats J.J., the rest of January is all yours.

The local newspaper is interviewing the boys this week, so we will have more details soon.

Yes, we will let the local wags do the footwork. After all, it’s TAH, and a little journalism goes a very long way.

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