Everyone hates a winner. Go anywhere in the country and you're liable to run into legions of anti-Yankees, anti-Cowboys and anti- Patriots fans. When a team becomes dominant, all of the motley collection of fanbases for all the other teams unite to spew a collective hatred on that one team, it happens time and time again.
Obviously, where I'm headed here is the phenomenon of Duke haters I run into everywhere I go. Since the late 80's Duke has been a powerhouse, but starting with the back-t0-back national championships Duke pretty much ran the table in the ACC. Even though the last couple of seasons were disappointments, all of the haters that formed over the last decade haven't lost focus on their favorite past-time.
Case in point, I'm currently in Los Angeles and I have a habit of wearing ultra-cool and comfortable grey Duke hoodie when I'm out and about. On a few occasions now, several strangers have flat out shouted at me "Duke sucks!" or "Go UNC!" It doesn't matter the race, age, height or anything else—except gender: all of them were guys—I couldn't believe the randomness of the people spitting their hate at me. These comments really picked up when Duke lost to Wake Forest, with the catcalls changing to "Go Wake!"
If that isn't enough, adding insult to injury are the haters I see being paid to spout their nonsense. Take this guy here. This loser sits around and gets paid by Yahoo to hate on our ballers and Dickie V. This hater thing is pandemic. From Myspace to Facebook there are groups all over the web dedicated to our demise.
Oh well. I'm not trying to start a pity party, and I wouldn't want one. All of this opposition and adversity is, of course, vindication of Duke's greatness, but it's something more—motivation. Today's Duke players should be proud of their feat of reaching number one this season, but they should also be looking back on the past at all the other number one squads to have played under Coach K. That's not to say they should feel pressured, but they should draw on the past glory of the jerseys they now wear, and ignore all nay-sayers.
As for rest, they can spit their hate and talk their trash. I don't care where you're from, North Carolina, Los Angeles... wherever. I say, bring it on.