(In The Livingroom)
Aaron Henderlite is one of many Triangle men who have coordinated a MANFest in conjunction with the basketball tournament. The men get the day off work, kick the women and children out and create themes around the day. One year, facial hair was the symbolic “uniter,” and all the men who grew a beard shaved between games into varying styles of mustaches.
Henderlite’s wife, Tara, recalls that year with mixed emotions.
“It was great for the guys to bond, and it was funny to get pictures of Aaron’s ever-changing hair issues from beard to mutton chops to—to mustache. But, I also remember my son falling asleep in the car and having to sit in the Target parking lot for hours because we had nowhere else to go.”
When asked how a marriage survives such traditions. Tara laughs, “compromise or, really, you could call it bribery. That’s the year I got a deck on the back of the house as part of the deal.”
Former 6th grade math teacher Leslie Taylor says when she was a student in North Carolina public schools, teachers would wheel televisions into the classroom or allow them to gather in the media center.
“It wasn’t a big deal; it’s just what you did,” she says.
Inspired by this, and her love for her alma mater, UNC-CH, Taylor says she used to “conveniently align my unit on fractions, decimals and percents to coincide with the ACC tournament.”
She taught to the tourney.
Students chose two players from the team and tracked field goals and shot attempts. As statistics popped up throughout the game, Taylor tallied what those statistics meant and how they were calculated. Integrating the tournament into class was somewhat inspirational, too.
“What opened my eyes was how many of my students did not get the connection between these games and the academic institutions associated with them,” says Taylor.
“It was a stark realization that their idea of what happened after high school was very limited, so hopefully this opened their eyes to possibilities,” she says.
Offices around the Triangle accept the notion that there is likely to be an uptick in paid time off surrounding the tournament, but some offices like Wasserman, a Raleigh media group, embrace the day as a greater work tradition that creates moments for team building. Michelle Duff of Wasserman says the company works with the ACC often anyway, so really it’s a part of work to pay attention to the tournament.
“We do Friday pizza and watch the games. As an office, it’s an event. We have a lot of ACC alums, so there’s a lot of rivalry, a little team building and pure enjoyment.”
It’s more than a perk.
“It goes deeper than that,” says Duff. “It’s so ingrained in how people grew up. It’s almost an expectation, and it’s something we all look forward to.”
The Waiting Room:
Then there’s the most bizarre tradition: vasectomies—as in scheduling them a few days before the tourney begins. Dr. Jerome P. Parnell II, MD, a urologist with Capital Urological Associates, says it’s a real thing.
“People realize they’re going to be down for a while [after the procedure]. They can’t move; they can’t take care of the kids,” says Parnell. “They may as well do it when they can sit and watch the games,”
Parnell sets tournament Friday aside every year knowing that men ready to say goodbye to the reproductive portion of their lives will be calling.