Hate is such a strong word. I don’t hate much, but I hate UNC and here is why:
Having grown up in the 80′s watching the NBA and teams like the Celtics battle the Lakers, I never cared for college basketball. That all changed on April 2, 1990 when I paid attention to my first college basketball game. The game was the 1990 NCAA National Championship game and my father asked me who I was going to cheer for. I answered “I don’t know, I don’t care”. He told me that I had to pick a team to root for, so I picked the team in blue (The Duke Blue Devils). As everyone knows the team in red (UNLV) crushed the team in blue but the stage had been set and events were in motion that would change my life forever.
I was living in Columbia, SC at the time and the following winter when college basketball started again I decided I would follow the Duke Blue Devils again to see how they would do. With an amazing group of players and a great coach, Duke won the NCAA Basketball championships in both 1991 and 1992. It was a good time to be a Duke fan and I had obviously picked a great program to follow.
The next season my Devils (yes by then I was already calling them “my Devils”) lost in the tournament to Cal and freshman point guard Jason Kidd. What really burned my biscuit was the University of North Carolina Tar Heels winning the championship. How is it that one of Duke’s rivals could go further and win the tournament. I didn’t care for the Tar Heels and I began to hate everything about their team. Their coach, Dean Smith, always wore an ugly jacket, their team color was this God-awful baby blue color, and their logo was a footprint with a tar stain on the bottom.
This was truly my first taste of “sports hate”. Sports hate is when you despised everything about your opponent. Everything from their facilities, to their players, to their uniforms, their fans, everything.
In the late summer of 1993 I moved to the Charlotte, NC area and was exposed to a new level of sports hate and more animosity between Duke fans and UNC fans. Moving here taught me that you have to choose one side or another, there is no in between, there is no casual cheering. Both fan bases feel you’re either with us, or against us.
I did not have to drink the kool-aid, it was already in my blood. Moving to North Carolina just fueled my hatred of UNC. I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT UNC. I hate the Nose Dome, that ugly sky blue color, the wine & cheese crowd, the stupid mascot, and the constant talk about their 1924 “championship”. I hate the players: Montross, Rasheed, Stackhouse, Zwiffer, McInnis, Williams, Cota, Hansbrough, all of them. I hate Charlotte Smith, Mia Hamm, and everything else related to the Tar Heels. I have so much sports hate for UNC that I hate a few of my friends for going to “Chapel Hole”. The hatred runs deep in my veins that I almost hate living in North Carolina just because it’s the state that houses UNC.
Even though I feel such disdain and hatred, I wish them no ill will (expect to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament). We are lucky and blessed to have 2 programs with such history, talent, and passion for basketball in our backyard. No one can argue the accomplishments of Duke and UNC: 9 NCAA Titles, 33 Final Fours, #3 & #4 Winningest Programs in D-1 history, 47 outright or shared ACC Regular Season Titles, 36 ACC Tournament Titles (including 14 of the last 15), and just under 1800 wins by their most famous head coaches, Dean Smith and Mike Kryzewski. I will forever be grateful to be a part of this rivalry.
My wife doesn’t understand it. Sports hate is something you either get or don’t get. When she hears us talking trash about UNC, she doesn’t understand. When she hears some of her friends talking trash about Duke, she doesn’t understand. The rivalry extends much further than the few miles between the two schools, it consumes everyone in the state. She doesn’t understand and she never will. I am ok with that, so long as she never cheers for UNC. ‘Go to hell Carolina, go to hell! Go to hell Carolina, go to hell!’
All of my Duke brethren can follow me on Twitter: @BruceRWilson
All of my Tarhole readers can tweet me your hatred on Twitter as well: @BruceRWilson