D.C. Sports Bog on Terps Fans Taunting Duke's Jon Scheyer

Maryland basketball fans taunt Duke guard Jon Scheyer as part of Operation Scheyerface.
Maryland basketball fans taunt Duke guard Jon Scheyer as part of Operation Scheyerface. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

"I think I passed out your ticket," Chris Booze said apologetically to Jimmy Johnston, 30 minutes before tip-off.

Johnston cringed.

"It had a Scheyerface on it," Booze explained. "What was I supposed to do?"

Pretty much everything had a Scheyerface on it last night, during a game dubbed Operation Scheyerface v2.0. The Facebook event, created by Johnston on Sunday night, had more than 1,100 confirmed attendees by the time the Comcast Center big screen ran the pregame message about treating opponents with respect.

Organizers printed out 2,400 8 1/2 -by-11-inch copies of legendary face contorter Jon Scheyer's face. They made 24 larger banners, which they spread throughout the student section. They also encouraged individual creativity, and here the fans didn't disappoint. Scheyer's face was everywhere, in all sorts of creative interpretations. Matt Perlstein went for the collage approach, melding about two dozen smaller Scheyerfaces into one larger whole.

"It just makes me want to vomit, you know, to look at him," Perlstein said. "It's scary."

Cain Jeffries and Dan Dirks went for size, creating a PDF Scheyerface that required 25 pieces of paper. Their motivation was pure: "We wanted to get on ESPN," Jeffries said.

Alyssa Perrone went for visual clarity, trimming the edges of her Scheyerface to form a cleanly disembodied head. She thought that stood out more, though she agreed that her arts-and-crafts effort, reinforced by makeshift poster board, carried certain middle school undertones.

"But I don't think middle schoolers would be this mean," she added. "I guess that's the fun of college basketball. You can act like a middle schooler while you're taking upper-level classes."

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Perrone admitted to feeling occasional twinges of guilt over Scheyerfacedom, and even more so over the signs making fun of Scheyer's sister. But big-time college athletes, she reasoned, get plenty of perks. Thousands of copies of your grimacing face are just one of the downsides.

And even some Duke fans found it difficult not to laugh. Pete Swanson, who drove down to the game from New Jersey, even grabbed one of the posters himself for his scrapbook. "Hey, he can make whatever face he wants if he puts up a game like he did the other night," Swanson said.

The Scheyerface itself was described in various ways. Some said it appeared the author had encountered an unpleasant odor. Others focused more on the mouth. At least one fan said she'd be equally exercised if a Maryland player made funny faces. "Maryland's awesome, we don't have people who make faces like that," Becky Mehringer said.

But if you started thinking too deeply about Operation Scheyerface, you'd remember that a guy named Michael Jordan used to make his share of funny faces while on the court. And also that all of us probably make unfortunate faces, occasionally, in our weaker moments.

"All the time," Jeffries agreed. "But he gets filmed doing it. Plus, Duke is so good that we need to find something to make fun of, you know?"

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