People always talk about “drinking the Kool-Aid” when they talk about UNC or Duke fanatics. Let me tell you something: I didn’t just drink the Carolina Kool-Aid, I was bottle-fed the Carolina Kool-Aid while my dad sang the fight song and rocked me to sleep in my Carolina-blue onesie. Ain’t no lullaby like “ra-ra-Car-lina-lina, Go to Hell Duke!”
In my family, if you don’t love Carolina… scratch that — if you don’t love Carolina, you’re just not in my family. My grandmother went to UVA and loves her team, but you better believe she only cheers against the Tar Heels twice a year (and even then, it’s a very subtle display… perhaps a light orange sweater with a Carolina blue scarf).
So I’ve loved the Heels my whole life. If anyone in my family had been paying attention to the sweet adorable third child in her little baby rocker thing, they probably would have heard that my first words were “go heels.”
Even more in my blood, however, is my hatred for Duke. To say that Coach K’s boys bring out a bad side in the Stephenson clan would be a gross understatement.
The truly hilarious thing is that I don’t even like basketball. Or sports in general. They’re very silly and I don’t know why everyone gets so worked up about them. But the Duke game isn’t really a game. It’s a ritual, a rite of passage even — a rare opportunity for a bunch of nerds to get together and celebrate their mutual hatred by yelling about a sport they stopped playing in elementary school.
But don’t get me wrong, I freakin’ love it.
Last night, I watched the big game at the “Seniors Hate Duke” event organized by our awesome senior marshals. To be perfectly honest, I only went to the event because some of my friends helped organize it — I really didn’t want to leave my warm, comfortable home just to watch a game on TV.
A few minutes into the game, however, I realized that this was what Carolina basketball’s all about. Most of us at the event didn’t know each other, but we were all united by our undying devotion to the Tar Heels.
Throughout the game, we were more than just a group of strangers watching a game in the same restaurant. We shared a moment of silence while the Duke and UNC teams gathered together to honor Dean Smith. We jumped up and down when JP Tokoto made the most montage-worthy dunk we’d ever seen in our lives. We took turns dashing to the bathroom so we wouldn’t miss the ending of the game. We started “Tar…Heels” cheers during every commercial break. Even though we were freezing cold and crowded and basically all sharing one TV, I have to admit that it was pretty awesome.
And yes, I obviously would have preferred to win the game than lose by 2 points. But so what? We aren’t even all that good this year. If we could pull that out at Cameron… well, get your couches ready, Franklin Street.
I’ll never be able to put the feeling of hating Duke into words as well as the famous Daily Tar Heel column did back in 1990, so I’ll just end with this:
See ya March 7, dook. And tbt to this time last year.
Unfortunately, the snow has prevented me from doing a lot of the things on my unbasic list. Don’t worry, though, I’m going to an improv comedy show on Friday! Thanks for reading!