Lately, I've been having trouble with my Hate. For me, a lifelong Dukie and ABC (Anybody But Carolina) fan, this is very troubling. Usually, I can spew venom about Carolina on command. So why is it so hard to do it now, mere days away from a Duke-UNC matchup in Cameron?
Maybe with tenting on top of all my normal activities, I just don't have enough energy to devote to the Hate. Maybe it's because some of my best friends from high school go to UNC. I just visited them last weekend, and it's not like I think they're lazy, uneducated hicks who had to settle for a crappy state school.
Ah, there it is. The Hate is coming back.
The Rivalry has public versus private, southerners versus northerners, two shades of blue, two top schools, two outstanding basketball programs, all somewhere between eight and 11 miles apart. It's like Duke and Carolina were designed to be rivals. But where is my Hate?
I went to Pearce Godwin, a Tent 1 resident, for a little help rejuvenating my Hate. Pearce bled baby blue until he decided he would attend Duke the night before the Devils' game against UConn in the 2004 Final Four. He still hates Mike Dunleavy and loves the Dean, but he's one of the few who's seen the Rivalry from both sides.
"It's good versus evil," he said, "depending on what side you're on."
Pearce has great respect for the programs at each school and even cheered for UNC in the Final Four last year (blasphemy in my book). But he knows where his loyalties lie when the teams take the court. "When you see that baby blue coming, you just have this hatred, this scorn," he said.
But I was still struggling. I was thinking that maybe this year's UNC team just wasn't enough to muster the Hate. So I went to my mom, Trinity '75, for the classic reasons for hating UNC. "They're smug and arrogant, even when they don't have cause to be," she reminded me. "And there's the whine and cheese crowd. And the players are whiners in general." Oh, yeah. "They never commit a foul." Just look at Reyshawn Terry-if the ref calls a foul on him, he acts like the teacher just told him recess was cancelled because he talked during nap time. And there's that hideous shade of blue.
But of course, there are newer reasons, too. Roy Williams is a traitor and a potty-mouth. As for this year's team, "I think it's time for the little Cinderella story that's building in Chapel Hill to end," said my friend Seun. "At first it was kind of cute and maybe even a little bit inspiring, but now it's just irritating."
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn't really define my Hate. It's like a religion: You're born on one side, and you either stick with it or rebel against your parents. There are very few conversions. You can respect the other side's beliefs, but you feel sorry for them because they will never know the Truth. And you know, on Judgment Day, evil will be struck down in a rain of threes and thunderous dunks.
Saturday's game is about us. It's about getting a final home win for a phenomenal senior class: the all-time scoring leader, the Landlord, the scrappiest player ever, the most emotional man on the court, the ex-manager who saw his dreams come true and the baseball player who found his niche.
It's about rebounding from our first ACC loss of the year. It's about making our final adjustments before the postseason. It's about playing with intensity and heart. It's about the sixth man's loudest day of the year. It's about proving why Cameron is the greatest place in the world for a sporting event. It's about living in a tent for two months and getting to witness the Rivalry from the best seats in the house.
And, of course, it's about beating down the Tar Holes yet again, sending them back to Chapel Hell crying and crushing the spirit and closing the mouth of every UNC fan out there.
Yup. It always comes back to the Hate.
Elizabeth Rudisill is a Trinity sophomore. Her column usually runs every other Thursday.
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