Rosie Miller, 74, a devoted Dayton fan since the early 1950s, has the Red Sweatshirts and Navy Slacks for the Atlantic 10 Conference men’s basketball tournament starting Wednesday. He has worn his basketball earrings all season. His tree, still above Christmas, is decorated with lights and ornaments in the red and blue colors of the flyers. His arm is decorated with two vaccines against the coronavirus.
“I’m dressing like I’m going to the Arena,” Miller, a conservationist from Dayton, Ohio, laughed in a phone interview last week.
Instead, he planned to sit at home in front of the television. For a year, a reporter has followed her story as she came to represent the anguish of sports fans everywhere separated from her teams by the epidemic, which has intervened for the second consecutive college basketball season.
The Restricted A-10 tournament will hold the preliminary round in Richmond, Va., Through Saturday, take a Hetus and end on March 14 in Dayton. Last season, the tournament was halted just after the tournament began when the Flyers were 29–2, angling for the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and seeking to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1967.
This season, viewers were limited to 300 for games at the Dayton Arena. Miller’s only appearance was a cardboard cutout he bought for $ 55. Even if the Flyers were to reach the A-10 finals next week, Miller initially thought, he would not have the connection to get a ticket. He was vaccinated against coronavirus, but not against desperation.
“Screaming in my house is not the same as screaming in the arena,” Miller said watching the game on her couch. “And I don’t think my cat is very happy.”
He began watching flyers on TV in the early 1950s. Hers, he said, was the only family in his first class with a TV. She began participating in the Dayton Games in 1964 as a freshman there. On Sunday, she did not hesitate to stop in the parking lot outside the church to tell then coach Don Donohar about a special play. His former partner, Dan obrovacStarted at center for Dayton in the 1967 NCAA title game against UCLA in 1967, during the 2019–20 season, Miller felt he had missed an individual in just over a dozen home games. And he caught those people on radio or television.
Even now, he planned his vacation around the college basketball season. Her hobbies, she liked to say, are basketball and gardening and “thank God they overlap.”
On March 10, Miller wore a dateback sweatshirt after boarding a New York flight for the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Flyers were a fashionable pick to win the national title. ahead Obi ToppinThe Brooklyn native will be declared the National Player of the Year Pick the lottery The Knicks, by their hometown team.
The Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments on March 10, but the Atlantic 10 still wanted to advance to the Barrage Center. Miller and his traveling companion, a high school friend named Angie Hellwig, landed at La Guardia Airport in the late afternoon and took a chartered bus with other Dayton fans to the Hampton Inn on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
Miller had purchased new clothes for the trip, including a sweatshirt and a pair of red slacks. He also sported Obrovec’s Dayton letter sweater since the 1960s. But she was wary of coronovirus outbreaks. Miller and Helwig carried wipes and disposable gloves, slid down the tables at their plane seats in Brooklyn, their hotel rooms and junior restaurants, where they went to dinner to have burgers and cheesecakes.
Somehow, they missed the news later that night that the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronovirus and suspended the NBA season.
On breakfast on March 12, talk about the epidemic in the hotel lobby. The A-10 tournament was planned to continue, but without fans, leaving families and players guests. Miller tried to rent a car to drive back to Dayton, but was never driven to the hotel.
The news went wrong Before noon, as the Massachusetts and Virginia Commonwealth were set to meet in a second-round game, the tournament was to face Dayton in the conference quarterfinals, with the winner Canceled. “Are you sure?” Miller kept asking in the hotel lobby. “Are you sure?”
Hours later, the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were also canceled. Unholy, Miller and Helwig made their way to La Guardia Airport. With the help of a sensible American Airlines agent, he booked a flight back to Dayton that evening.
“I’m thoroughly amazed,” Miller texted a reporter. He said, I feel very bad for the team. Our first big chance in years. “
Her son, Gregorio, finds out that he was swept away during the growing epidemic. He was not happy. Miller said he messaged her from Portugal, stating that “I don’t mean to be abusive,” and damned.
Miller arrived home after midnight. One night owl, he checked online whether somehow, the decision to cancel the NCAA tournament was reversed. It was not.
“I’m superdepressed,” Miller said over the phone on the morning of March 13, “I live for March Madness. It’s like my Christmas.”
That afternoon, he sent a text: “All day long I kept thinking about my flyers. And also about the ’67 team and it just happened for me OB was our Kareem. “
His former partner, Obrovac, had known Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Lev Alindor at the opening spot of the 1967 NCAA Finals. Then everything went wrong for Dayton as UCLA won the first of seven consecutive championships. But, for fans of a certain era, Tip Dayton remains the most iconic play in basketball history and is remembered with stained glass murals in the university’s library.
Decades later, Obrovac and Abdul-Jabbar developed a brief, poignant relationship when both men developed cancer. Obrovac died in 2010 at the age of 62. A tip to win Obrovac’s photo was seen in a Christmas ornament and hung on a Miller tree each year.
“I can put on a sheet every time to keep from crying,” Miller said.
On March 14, Miller asked on Facebook, “What does someone do without basketball in March?” He replied, “My house is going to be so clean, it’s going to be disgusting.”
She watched as many replays of college games as she could find. She also watched a DVD of Obrove’s glory days. On March 31, he texted a reporter saying that he had finally got his Christmas / basketball tree down, saying, “Thank God for gardening.” Will take me when the season resumes.
On December 3, he texted to say that his tree was again for the college season of 2020-21. It now includes an ornament featuring toppins and a temple in the 2019–20 season. Anchoring the shrine was an old pair of Obrovec-shaped 19 sneakers, arguably the world’s largest elf boots, and a rock from the center of the garden that was engraved with the words, “Life begins when the season begins It happens.”
“People walk in and look at me like I’m crazy,” she said. “I am probably.”
Dayton, after winning Monday’s regular season finale at St. Bonvent, would be 13-8 likely to win the A-10 championship to reach the NCAA tournament. But at least the Flyers will play for the conference title at home. Miller received some good news on Sunday. A thousand spectators will be allowed for the A-10 final. She started thinking out loud.
“I’ve got a couple heavy-handed friends,” she said. “Maybe they can get me in.”