We all burst from Chapel Hill in a plume of gorgeous blue smoke, wafting to all corners of the globe where other like-minded souls await. The “sky-blue mafia” has beds for you in Manhattan, an internship in Hollywood, and we’ll save your spot in line at the K&W in Rocky Mount. There is no old boy’s network, no secret handshake. We just share our affection for a town on a hill, and this: When we see Dookies clogging our TV, our lips curl, and we seethe. –Ian Williams, Why I Still Hate Duke
Here is an account of the events that occurred in my life on February 9th, 2011. No names have been changed to protect the innocent.
story confession is coming to you on the later side for a reason: I’ve had to work up the nerve to tell it. Because you know what February 9th was. Everybody knows what February 9th was.
It was the Carolina vs. Duke game.
Yes, it’s basketball season and consequently, Kellan and I are not speaking to each other. And here’s my dirty little secret for the day: I’m dating a Duke grad.
Around here, we call that “fraternizing with the enemy”.
The simple fact that two very different shades of blue have managed to somewhat peacefully coexist in the same relationship for the better part of six months now is nothing short of a miracle. I’m writing the Vatican.
If you had attempted to convince me as an undergrad that one day, I’d look twice at a boy from that pretentious dark blue school from the other side of the tracks-I would have recommended a lobotomy. You see, Carolina leaves an ever-lingering, indelible mark on her students. It’s a place that becomes a part of you. Hallmarked by an ardent passion for learning and basketball, sweet tea and magnolia trees, wraparound porches and old southern columns, books and bowties, Carolina is emblematic of both academic excellence and the effortless elegance that causes her to stand in such stark contrast with a school a mere fifteen minute drive down the road.
It’s a long. fifteen. minutes.
Rushing Franklin after beating Duke!
Duke. Duke stands for everything we loathe, despise and abominate. If Carolina is the proverbial good neighbor that gently helps a sweet old lady cross a busy street, Duke is the gum-smacking, insolent adolescent that beats her with her walker and shoves her into oncoming traffic. Our archenemy and the other half of a time-honored, storied rivalry-we consider Duke to be the apex of all that’s evil in the world. At Carolina, an incredibly diverse student body stands united in disgust of a certain shade of blue and Coach K. Any mention of the Blue Devils leaves us seething and rather tempted to grab the nearest crucifix and go to town.
You get the point. As they say-“to hate like this is to be happy forever.” And a sea of Carolina [and Duke, for that matter] blue said “amen”.
I was raised to hate Duke. My Mom is a Carolina grad and made certain that no matter what continent we were living on, I had my little Carolina blue cheerleader outfit and pompoms with me. I learned the UNC fight song before I
Rushing Franklin after we won the National Championship my senior year!
learned the alphabet. In college, the hatred intensified as I joined the ranks of thousands of college students that cover themselves from head to toe in Carolina blue and white paint, scream like wild banshees from buzzer to buzzer, and then elatedly burn anything in sight when we beat Duke. Win or lose, when those Duke/Carolina games roll around, you’ll find us fervently cheering on our Heels with a passion normally reserved for newly freed prisoners of war.
That’s my crowd. Duke and Carolina offer each other both unadulterated hatred and begrudging respect.
…and apparently, we also offer each other dates.
To my very great chagrin, I walked into party about eight months ago and started talking to a Dukie. And not just any Dukie-this one harbors a particularly relentless hatred for all things Carolina. He created the “UNC Sucks” facebook group when he was a freshman in college-a facebook group that is now thousands strong. He was in Michigan to watch the Blue Devils win the National Championship last year. [Wail!] Kellan is one of those hopeless Cameron Crazies that spent months of his undergraduate career camping out in a tent outside of Cameron to score tickets to see Duke and Carolina play. The kid bleeds Duke blue.
Aaaand this is how we handle basketball season.
…but he’s just so cute. I couldn’t help it.
Thus, to my great shame, February 9th did not find me with all of my Carolina friends drinking Carolina blue “haterade” and detailing the myriad of ways Coach K looks like a “rodent of unusual size”. February 9th instead found me watching the game with-brace yourself- a Dukie.
I’m humiliated. Please don’t take my pompoms away!
In my [rather shaky] defense, we also watched it with Kellan’s Dad-and Mr. Dickens is an ardent Carolina fan. [And thus, currently my favorite member of his family.]
The guilt has been rather overwhelming. This will inevitibly take a daunting amount of therapy to resolve. That, or a Carolina victory…
Carolina is going to give Duke the pounding they narrowly escaped in February on March 5th-so consider this my cyber stand against all things Duke. Here’s to my Heels-let’s beat those Dukies but good! I do, after all, dearly love watching Coach K cry.
…and if Kellan joins him-so be it.
God bless them Tarheel boys!