Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Duke-Carolina Secret


Patrick Kendall

Psst. I have a secret. Come closer. A little closer.

But before I blurt it out and start a cataclysm of comments and insults, let me first say how much I have enjoyed our time together. Any fan knows that misery AND jubilation are best enjoyed in like company so riding along with other Duke fans and UNC fans as the first half of this basketball season winds down (schedule-wise; not yet conference-wise) has been sweet. Even the mumbled, garbled rants of the loonies have made for some memorable sport and I intend to write for the duration of the regular season and throughout the Tourney as well so I hope you’ll all come along.

But now, on to the dark, terrible secret that will expose me as the worst kind of basketball hypocrite. Drum roll please.


Hmm, hmm…I graduated from Virginia Tech.


Sigh again.

Yep. It’s true. I’m a Hokie. I even tried out for, and made (briefly) the team at one point, though the ACC was a long way from Blacksburg then (metaphorically speaking of course; geographically, it was right down the road in Charlottesville, but I digress.)

But before the eye rolls, groans, and “I knew its!” start flying, let me state that I am no FAN of the Virginia Tech program. I have nothing against them either, but I have a difficult time thinking of them as an ACC program because of my own personal experience. I still think of them as a Metro Conference laffer that Southern Miss, Louisville, Memphis and Cincinnati (to name a few) all had their way with. Back then, we were as sure a thing (in terms of beating) as a paid off hooker on Prom night.

So, I am not one of THOSE Hokies (along with Bob the Terp here at the office, I also work with Megan the Hokie – she IS one of those). Anyway, that’s not the worst of it

The true secret is this:

I am a Blue Heel.

Now for those of you who don’t know what a Blue Heel is (and at this point I won’t insult your intelligence other than to explain EXACTLY what one is) let me enlighten you.

A Blue Heel is a fan of 1) Duke and 2) UNC. Here is the only way you can be a Blue Heel:

You can’t live in now or have ever lived in the state of North Carolina.
You can’t have attended either Duke or UNC for ANY academic or athletic purpose.
You must live in presently, or have lived in during your formative years, ACC basketball territory (i.e. Virginia, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, and now Massachusetts).
You can have no direct relationship (immediate or extended family out to the second generation) to any current or past (or even future) attendee of either school.
You must always be loyal to Duke over Carolina, to include unseemly conduct such as spitting at your UNC friend who you may have just drank beer with three days before while watching the ‘Heels beat some other ACC opponent.

If you meet all five of these criteria, then you can be a proud member of a small but powerful lobby of fans that by virtue of their very existence confounds the normal Duke and Carolina fan but in many ways represents the highest evolution of either. Think about that for a moment.

I should also mention (though I have to do it in a whisper otherwise I call down an ancient curse upon myself, my family, my children, my children’s children – well, you get the idea) that there also exists a bastardized version of the elegant Blue Heels.

They are a raucous, uncouth, uncivilized species that stands in stark blue contrast to Basketball Nature itself.

They are called Tar Devils.

And for the life of me, I cannot understand how they live with themselves.

1 comment:

Chuck F said...

First of all, I am as happy as I can ever remember, sitting here reading Dookies cry and whine like McRoberts over your pitiful team.

BTW, a Blue Heel? Spoken like a truly pathetic Hokie.