On one of the lower tiers of shelves that hold dozens of turtles — big and small, ceramic and stuffed — Harris has accumulated a stack of basketball game posters. Atop her printer, she has saved copies of a recent tweet featuring a photo of senior walk-on Andrew Terrell cradling a basketball. Harris collects with purpose. She makes eight scrapbooks for Terrapins players, and her close friend Maria Jackson creates six.
Through the season, they gather newspaper articles and photos that fill the pages of each player’s book. Their names go nowhere on the pages. At the end of the season, Jackson and Harris simply drop off the roughly 300-page finished products at the basketball office. Their goal? To create a permanent archive for the players, a way to remember the season, and to show them they are appreciated.
“They tell you — and their parents will tell you, too — what the book means to them,” said Harris, a 75-year-old fan who has attended games for about 50 years.
On game days, Jackson, 65, drives to College Park from Pasadena, Md., picking up Harris in Laurel on the way. Jackson has Harris’s phone number saved on speed dial in her car, and she calls as she enters Harris’s development. Together, they eat beforehand, whether it’s at a nearby restaurant or Xfinity Center’s concessions, and as they watch the game, they do so with the scrapbooks in mind.
At a recent matchup, the two women sat courtside, as opposed to their usual spot in the second row behind press seating. Beforehand, Jackson hoped nobody would occupy the seats in front of her. That way, she and her camera would have the optimal view of the bench, perfect for the shots she needs to fill the books of walk-ons.
Before tip-off, they reminded themselves to pick up an extra copy of the Ricky Lindo Jr. game poster. Usually, the opening page of a scrapbook features one of these. They cut out the player and then mount that image with foam dots on another full poster to create a three-dimensional effect. Sometimes, Jackson leaves with four posters — just in case.
In fact, they’ll take anything — brochures, fliers, programs, printed graphics the team tweets or images from videos. It’s all, in their eyes, an ideal way to decorate pages.
“Anything that's out there for free,” Harris said, “we're grabbing.”
As part of a military family, Harris moved around though her childhood, but her dad had long tours in the Washington area. She attended Maryland and graduated in 1965. Harris, who was a manager for the girls’ basketball team in high school, is just the second person to be in charge of the scrapbook operation, which began under coach Lefty Driesell.
Jackson attended Maryland games with her family as a kid and began helping with the scrapbooks in the early 2000s. The first book she made on her own was for Bambale Osby during the 2006-07 season. This year, the two will assemble 14 books, and another volunteer, Dean Watkins, will make one.
“It is a testament to the kindness that is in people's hearts,” said Jeff Baxter, who played at Maryland in the 1980s and received the first book Harris made. Baxter lives in the District and still talks to Harris if he sees her at Maryland games.
Harris and Jackson attend other Maryland events, including field hockey and soccer games. They sometimes watched those two teams play back-to-back on Friday nights this year. The Testudo poster giveaway at a recent women’s basketball game might soon find a home in a scrapbook when “you suddenly realize you screwed up and you have a blank page,” Jackson said.
Jackson knows which craft store has the most basketball-themed supplies, and she uses an electronic cutting machine to make her own decorations. But they insist this isn’t a typical hobby scrapbook. Rather, it’s “an accounting of what has happened during the year,” Harris said.
Both women are on the board of Fastbreakers, the men’s basketball booster club that provides the budget for the scrapbooks, and each week the two attend the “Mark Turgeon Radio Show.” They arrive early so they can eat first and then shift their focus to listen to the team’s coach, broadcaster Johnny Holliday and the special guests as they discuss the season.
During the most recent show, Harris told Jackson there was a new feature on Bruno Fernando, and Jackson promptly asked which news outlet published the story. (Fernando is one of the players for whom Jackson makes a scrapbook.) Later, Jackson asked Harris if she’d seen the photo of Jalen Smith the team tweeted the day before. Then, the two tried to figure out which game the photo came from so a printout could be placed on the appropriate page.
They adhere to guiding principles when assembling the books: usually one article for a loss but at least two for a win. It doesn’t matter if someone played; they’re part of the team, so the game story should be included. And perhaps the most important requirement: a walk-on’s scrapbook shouldn’t be treated differently than that of the team’s best player.
“We don’t have anyone that feels shorted or diminished because I don’t want that,” Jackson said. “They’re kids. Yes, I know it’s real world that you’re going to have to take the bumps, but you know what? They don’t have to do that when it comes to their basketball scrapbook.”
To fill the books of walk-ons, Jackson takes photos during warm-ups and timeouts. Sometimes after a crucial play, she’ll turn her camera toward the bench to capture the reaction. When a lopsided game allows walk-ons to play the final few minutes, Jackson becomes a bit frantic with her camera. She wrestles with whether she should take wide shots with all five players or snap close-ups one by one. This is her chance to preserve their moments on the court.
As the nonconference slate nears its end, both scrapbookers are behind with pasting the photos and articles onto pages. They know it’ll only get more hectic once the Big Ten schedule starts. Next week, both said, they’ll catch up.
“I will paste dawn to dusk,” Harris said Saturday morning before Maryland played Seton Hall.
They scrapbook for the same players through their entire Maryland careers, and both women have developed relationships with current and former team members. Recently, Osby sent Jackson pictures from Europe, where he plays.
As the Maryland players leave the court after warmups, senior Ivan Bender and Jackson point at each other. If Terrell, the walk-on senior, comes up in conversation, Jackson and Harris praise the person he is.
They’re both volunteers at heart, but when asked why she keeps doing this — the time-intensive process of collecting, printing, pasting and decorating — Harris joked that sometimes she asks herself that question. Then she started listing players, ones she’s met through the years, forming relationships where each side positively impacts the other.
After games, Jackson and Harris walk down to court level and stop by the managers’ office. One manager collects copies of the student newspaper for them, and the women might also take extra posters and programs.
Last season, as Jackson made her way through the ground-floor hallway after a game, she suddenly saw Sean Mosley, who played from 2008 to 2012. Mosley, a Baltimore native who Jackson says has the best smile, hugged his scrapbooker and asked how she was.
“It’s that,” Jackson said. “That’s why you keep doing this.”