Buice column: Seeking a return to normal days

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

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It’s time to start living. Again.

For two years, the pandemic has maintained its grip, but after a few false starts, it appears the worst may indeed be over with case counts dropping and mask mandates ending.

My wife and I celebrated by actually going back to a movie theater to see a chick flick (hey, it was her birthday) one week and then a live theater performance last weekend.

It was like going back in time … to the days of early 2020.

We have been frequent visitors to Marketplace Cinemas over the years — mostly for the bargain prices — but also for the buttered popcorn, which is a must for any movie. For our first time back, we opted to visit AMC Theatres on Hanes Mall Boulevard with those comfy, soft leather, padded recliners.

It was wonderful, and the movie, Jennifer Lopez’s “Marry Me,” wasn’t bad either.

Then it was off to the Hanesbrands Theatre last Saturday night for The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which was called “a musical within a comedy.”

The seats weren’t quite as comfortable, but it was a fun show and most welcome after quite a few dark days for local performances.

Sports also was pretty much shut down in 2020 for fans before being revived, with varying restrictions, in 2021, and things are getting back to normal with the arrival of spring in 2022.

Having said that, it’s hard to be feeling great about anything with the daily gut-wrenching reports and images from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

So after checking in on the nightly news, I then pivot, when possible, to watching old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show.

Life is always better with a dose of Barney and all the laughs and wholesome storylines of days gone long by.

• • • • •

When I heard that Mike Krzyzewski was planning for this to be his last season in coaching, I first thought back to the early 1980s when he was far from a sure thing to even keep his job at Duke.

In fact, I’ll never forget seeing my alma mater, Appalachian State, go into historic Cameron Indoor Stadium in Coach K’s second year and beat mighty Duke.

Many forget that Krzyzewski had an overall losing record after his first three seasons before putting together that first star-studded recruiting class that included Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie. The Blue Devils won their first ACC Tournament under Coach K in 1986 and went all the
way to NCAA title game.

That was the beginning of Duke becoming a college basketball dynasty over the next three decades with Coach K claiming five national titles and becoming the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history with nearly 1,200 victories.

The ’80s, when I found myself covering games on press row, was truly a special time with Krzyzewski coming along to challenge Dean Smith, who had already built a powerhouse at North Carolina, including a NCAA championship in 1982, and N.C. State’s Jim Valvano, who guided the “Cardiac Pack” to do the same thing in 1983.

There were so many memorable games during that time, and I was fortunate to be there for the first game in the Dean Dome in January 1986 that pitted Smith’s No. 1 Tar Heels and Krzyzewski’s third-ranked Blue Devils. If you’re keeping score, UNC won 95-92 that day in
college basketball’s greatest rivalry.

It was only fitting that North Carolina would be the opponent for Coach K’s final home game last Saturday night where tickets were going for thousands of dollars on the secondary market.

With an electric crowd and nearly 100 of his former players returning for the game, there was no way Duke could lose, right?

But it did. That result will always remain on the ledger, much to the chagrin of the Cameron Crazies, but it won’t diminish the final coaching resumé of Mike Krzyzewski. After 42 years, it won’t seem the same without him on the Duke bench going forward.

• • • • •

During its monthly February meeting, the Town of Bermuda Run had a full agenda, including a public hearing on a rezoning request and the potential multi-family development near the busy N.C. 801/U.S. 158 intersection.

That meant a stream of residents coming to the podium to express their concerns about more traffic and growth — with Clemmons being a target on how not to do it.

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments directed at the town’s much larger neighbor across the river to the east.

“That’s the reason I left Clemmons,” one person said. “You can’t get through Clemmons for anything.”

Another said: “Do we really want this to be Lewisville-Clemmons Road?”

And then this: “We don’t want to be what you see up the street.”