2.09.2011

Why I Still Hate Duke

Many of you think the Big Game already came and went on Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend.  Well, you would be wrong.  Tonight, my beautiful and amazing alma mater will continue a storied basketball rivalry against Voldemort's alma mater: a place powered by polar bear tears and unicorn blood, otherwise known as dook.  It is true that dook is ranked higher than UNC at the moment, but that doesn't change the fact that UNC will always, always have hotter girls.

This is a hilarious piece that ran in the Daily Tar Heel in 2007, by Ian Williams '90:

I always hated it when alumni came back and waxed rhapsodic about their undergrad years. "Yes," I would always think to myself, "I know there were kegs in the dorms, I know there was free love outside Bingham Hall, I know that everyone sung in harmony about a perfect world, blah blah blah..."

So why listen to me, you might ask? Well, usually in this spot, the DTH runs an old chestnut I wrote about Why I Hate Dook. I had a Wednesday column back in the Bronze Age of 1990, and I told the story of how my high school visit to Durham turned into a flaming pyre of white-hot hostility.

When the piece ran, I thought my friends would disparage the obviousness of it - writing a column about hating Dook? Jesus, that's like shooting barrelfuls of cod! Instead, the column ended up on refrigerators across the Piedmont, and it taught me two lessons. First, don't overthink your duties; and second, never underestimate the hatred for Durham Clown College.

A whole cottage industry has since grown out of the UNC/Dook rivalry; two big-selling books, endless coverage on ESPN, and gigabytes of Photoshopped files featuring Mike Kryshwqhskdi. What used to be private disgust is now a public phenomenon, and it raises the question: is Dook still worth hating?

I assumed, like everyone does, three things would happen to me once I graduated. My views would become more conservative, I wouldn't be allowed to sleep past 10am anymore, and my passion for beating Dook would gradually drift away. I would grow hair on my ears and suddenly think sitcoms were funny.

I'm here to tell you these things don't necessarily happen. I grew more obnoxiously liberal, I got a writing gig with flexible mornings, and my eye-twitching contempt of Dook's basketball team grew even more intense. They seem to manufacture loathsome jerks year after year.

How can you watch any random press conference of Koach K and not feel this man is a modern-day Narcissus so fixated on success that he's happy to throw his own players under the bus? A tightly-wound mess of resentment and profanity, the toxic combination of a control freak with a thinly-veiled persecution complex?

Yes, I was a psych major.

And believe me, I wouldn't bet three cups of snot there isn't some person just like me in the other camp, the Dook fan who has his own dime-store theories on why Carolina is a blight on the athletic world. But I wouldn't trade places if the Buddha himself showed up wearing a navy blue unitard.

I'll tell you why: I got to choose my church. Having grown up without an organized religion, I adopted the Carolina Way. I adhered to the Dean-Gut-Roy belief system, and incorporated it everywhere: doing things the right way; playing hard, smart and together; valuing your family above all.

We all burst from Chapel Hill in a plume of gorgeous blue smoke, wafting to all corners of the globe where other like-minded souls await. The "sky-blue mafia" has beds for you in Manhattan, an internship in Hollywood, a coffee in Prague, and we'll let you get in front of us in line at the K&W in Rocky Mount.

There is no old boy's network, no secret handshake. All we share is an affection for a town on a hill, and this: when we see Dookies clogging our TV, our lips curl and we seethe a little inside. The week of the big game, we find ourselves canceling appointments.

Is Dook still worth hating? Take a look at Sean Dockery slugging Tyler in the mouth. Spend a Saturday night next door to a Dook fraternity. Find yourself in the midst of the Kameron Krazies, a numbnut group of ravenously twee dorks who shellac their nipples with blue food coloring, scream cruel and deeply unfunny crap at opposing teams, then jump up and down with the mindless lockstep of the Communist military.

There's just so much to despise! Every religion must have its Devil, and ours are Blue. Dook is the gift that keeps on giving, and whether you're in an 8am Econ class trying to stay awake, or in your nursery trying to get your daughter to sleep, we're in it together. Break his ankles, Ty! Punch it home, Rey! God bless them Tar Heel boys!

Ian Williams, a 1990 music/psychology graduate, lives in Los Angeles and New York, writing for television and movies.


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