County native finds himself in middle of Final Four in Indy

Blood bleeds for Boone, but Andrews will root for Duke tonight 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

A Richmond County man finds himself in the thick of things as the NCAA men’s basketball championship game is contested tonight in Indianapolis.

The Wisconsin Badgers are set to take on the Duke Blue Devils — love ’em or hate ’em — tonight inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Tip-off is set for 9:18 p.m. The fanfare presented on Sunday for Jerry Andrews a larger number of photographic opportunities, the chance to see Charles Barkley — and an opportunity to weigh in on the state’s “religious freedom” law.

Photo by Jerry Andrews The J.W. Marriott is said to feature the largest billboard in the world.

Photo by Jerry Andrews
The J.W. Marriott, now showing off the NCAA men’s tournament bracket is said to feature the world’s largest bracket. Duke and Wisconsin play tonight to decide which team gets to complete the bracket.

Andrews, 48, is a 1985 graduate of Richmond Senior High School who later graduated from Richmond Community College. In February 2013, he relocated from Rockingham to Indianapolis and though life — like anywhere else — has its pros and cons, the Appalachian State University graduate seems to be enjoying the big city.

Andrews, a runner, works in the downtown area and by way of roaming the streets with a group of runners several days a week, knew there was plenty of opportunity to use his Nikon D7000.

Photography, he said, is “just a big hobby of mine. I’ve been into photography since I was in eighth grade.”

He’s since evolved into digital photography, and that combined with life in a big city offer “a whole lot more opportunities” for interesting subjects.

Through social media, Andrews keeps up with his Richmond County fans and knows some of them will be rooting for Coach K to get his fifth championship ring.

Photo by Jerry Andrews The former Rockingham resident happened to see Charles Barkley, without an entourage, on Sunday. Barkley had tried to spare a woman from running into a pole when she'd looked to see Barkley. The collision still took place, but by all accounts everyone was fine.

Photo by Jerry Andrews
The former Rockingham resident happened to see Charles Barkley, without an entourage, on Sunday. Barkley had tried to spare a woman from running into a pole when she’d looked to see Barkley. The collision still took place, but by all accounts everyone was fine.

“I have some friends back home who are big Duke fans,” Andrews said. “I’m not, to be honest (but) I have to back the home team.”

Andrews first roots for the Boone-based Mountaineers. But his son, Austin Glock Andrews, is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. So the Tar Heels are second — but only second, Andrews said.

“I hope my son won’t be mad at me” for rooting for Duke, Andrews said.

On Sunday, Andrews took advantage of early Spring weather to walk around the downtown area and see what all the fuss is about. He also took a moment or two — whenever possible — to remind those donning Michigan Wolverines gear of his alma mater’s 34-32 win on the gridiron, in Ann Arbor.

“They usually try to ignore me,” Andrews said, and fail to acknowledge they might know where Boone is now.

Andrews’ photos taken Sunday run the gamut from the normal downtown landscape to Final Four-specific shots. A manmade canal that weaves through downtown Indy for nearly 1.5 miles is a key feature and draws many. The canal flows by the Capitol Building, state museums and some of the main cultural attractions, Andrews said.

Dozens of Maguire University graduates were caught by an NCAA exhibit that showcases race cars decked out in team colors of each Final Four participant. The school was highlighted on ABC and ESPN while speaking on the Final Four.

Photo by Jerry Andrews

Photo by Jerry Andrews

Of the more than 120 snapshots posted to his social media account, Andrews said his favorite might be “some the pictures of downtown. I think Indianapolis has a beautiful skyline.”

Of note, he said — the flower pots outside the Capitol Building and other key facilities were put out this week. It’s been too cold, Andrews said, for flowers to grow.

Indianapolis, Andrews said, reminds him of Charlotte.

“Indianapolis has a nice, very friendly city,” Andrews said. “It’s very accepting.”

On the Religious Freedom law

Of course, things aren’t perfect.

“It’s got its own set of problems,” he said.

The current talk around town — and the state and country — is the Religious Freedom law.

Photo by Jerry Andrews

Photo by Jerry Andrews

“I was very surprised” when it was put forward by state lawmakers, Andrews said.

He said the single story about a local company that refused service to a same-sex couple being put out of business was “blown out of proportion.”

“I don’t know all the ins and outs,” he said. “I think, for the most part, Hoosiers, transplants and otherwise, they treat people so fairly. It’s such a shame the city’s got such a tough rap from the politicians trying to appeal to their base.”

On Sir Charles

Barkley always liked to make noise while dominating as a power forward for the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. He hasn’t stopped talking since his playing days ended, though, first on TV as a color commentator for TNT and now — well, he’ll speak on just about anything.

Photo by Jerry Andrews

Photo by Jerry Andrews

“He’s entertaining,” Andrews said. “I think he likes to stir things up.”

Andrews said he’s neither a fan nor a detractor of Sir Charles. He’d just arrived in downtown Indianapolis on Sunday and parked in the state employees’ parking lot. A mascot walking around the area first got his attention, and then he noticed Barkley — by himself.

“He was right across the street from me,” said Andrews, who did not cross to say hello.

Back on My Feet

For Andrews, running is more than about putting one foot in front of the others. There is that, of course, but with fellow runners of Back on My Feet, he gets to give a little back, too.

Photo by Jerry Andrews The State Capitol Building in downtown Indianapolis.

Photo by Jerry Andrews
The State Capitol Building in downtown Indianapolis.

Back on My Feet is a national for-purpose organization aimed to helping the homeless get back to being productive members of society, off the streets and out of harm’s way. Andrews talked specifically about the agency’s effort to help homeless military veterans.

“It has been a huge part of my life here,” Andrews said. “They provide some support for homeless vets. They provide them with good running shoes. They’re a fantastic organization.”

Richmond County native Jerry Andrews

Richmond County native Jerry Andrews

 

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