Tonight, my beloved TarHeels are playing dook at Cameron Indoor. This game takes place during ESPN's Rivalry Week, with this game being touted (by those who would know!) as the greatest rivalry in all of college basketball. Maybe it is to those who are new to basketball (new, being defined as "not having watched a college game before the advent of ESPN"). To those of us who grew up in the cradle of Tobacco Road, the rivalry between dook and the Heels is relatively new. I grew up in Raleigh. My family members were staunch Pack Backers. My mother helped design the bumper sticker "Right On, Red" when the law changed to allow right turns on red lights. I was the lone rebel. I pulled for my Heels every game. I was ridiculed. Dean Smith was a liberal (worse than being a TarHeel!), and people at Carolina had no values. My mother cried when I was accepted to school there. Only one person congratulated me, my uncle. Growing up, dook was the Yankee School. We didn't know anybody who went there, except for the people from up north who never paid me for babysitting their five kids for a weekend (yes, I still think I am owed the $75.00, Jack--in today's rates, that would be about $200.00). But your friends and acquaintances chose Carolina or State. Even David Sedaris will tell you (in his brilliant essay) that the basic question upon meeting someone was "So are you a State or Carolina fan?"
However, now, all of that energy directed at a rival is directed at the dookies. I can't stand Mike k....; I am tempted every time I look at him to change my political party, since he is also a Republican. (However, I just cannot change to the party that embraces Ted Kennedy as it's grand poobah.) I can't stand to hear Dickie V. go off about the dookies every single game he calls. He is a treasure trove of basketball information, but please, every single game?! Why do I despise them? I tolerated Kenny Dennard breaking into Carmichael and posing nude at center court. I put up with the switched campus papers on game days. I forgave them for stealing Ramses. I felt like it was all in fun, and in the spirit of the game. I think my feelings transferred from State to dook when the cameron crazies chanted "orphan" at Scott Williams. That goes way past spirited, collegiate fun. They set out to be cruel, and they accomplished it. They flung condoms at a player (not from Carolina) who was accused of sexual assault. They had pizza delivered to the bench whose player accosted a delivery man (again, not a Carolina player). This isn't funny. This isn't clever. And yet, K.... named the sewer from which these ideas sprang as his town.
And they revel in this. Let them have it. I will continue to cheer our players and coaches, and smile smugly, even celebrate a little, when dook loses. Does this make me a petty Carolina fan? At least I am not cruel.