Week’s end

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 03:21 PM

Could we ask for a better story line?

Sylvia Hatchell, long-time coach of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s women’s basketball team, is poised to make history. Her next win will be her 900th – and make her only the third coach in major-college women’s basketball to reach that mark.

She’ll have a chance to hit that milestone Sunday if her Tar Heels can beat their arch-rival from nine miles down the road, the Duke Blue Devils.

UNC faces the 5th-ranked team in the nation in Duke, but anyone who follows the two schools’ rivalry knows rankings mean little when the two meet. Anyone can win.

Hatchell herself captured what must be on the minds of Tar Heel fans everywhere.

“The good Lord only knows why it was set up like it was,” Hatchell said after her team’s 72-62 victory over Florida State Thursday night put her one game away from 900.  “If we win it that will be great, and if we don’t we’ll learn from it and move on. But I don’t know if it could be any better than to win it here at home Sunday against Duke.”

Week’s end is officially neutral, of course, in the Duke-UNC rivalry, but we couldn’t agree more that circumstances have set the stage for an exciting and potentially historic outcome.


**How often have you seen someone bypass the staircase and take an elevator up two or three floors – or maybe even only one floor. Perhaps you’ve been that someone yourself.

And who among us could really ponder hoofing it up 86 flights of stairs?

Durham firefighter Touché Howard thinks walking up 86 flights is nothing.

He’s going to run up that many in the Empire State Building in New York Wednesday.

And he’ll do it with 55 pounds of equipment – and expects to make it to the top in just about a half-hour.

Howard knows full well what he’s getting into. He did the same run last February, and finished in 34 minutes and 45 seconds. He hopes to shave at least a couple minutes off his time this year, and colleagues have been suggesting 30 minutes is within reach.

Howard does this in part for a cause. Last year, he raised $30,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and expects to raise about the same this year.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get enthusiastic about something the first time,” he told The Herald-Sun’s Keith Upchurch earlier this week. “But there’s a real challenge to keep following through on your best experience, and to get the most out of it.”

We wish Howard the best of luck – may he indeed get the most out of it, and maybe break that 30-minute mark.

And if it helps encourage him – this week’s Durham Grit Award is his.


**Another Durham competitor is doing well in quite a different event. Chase Lewis, 13, who has invented a “travois” to help carry sick and starving children to refugee camps, is a finalist in the ePals/Smithsonian “Invent It Challenge 2012”.

You can vote to put Lewis over the top at http://en.community.epals.com/smithsonian_on_epals/p/inventionchallenge2012epalschoice.aspx.

It’s an invention that could truly help in famine-plagued regions. Give Chase your vote, and wish him luck.