Guest post by Edward Ingram, who is an avid UNC fan as well as and born and raised North Carolinian. I learned as soon as I migrated down to North Carolina from New York to pick a side and stick to it! This is definitely a sports and college driven state. I’ll reserve who I route for at the moment but, read on and see why UNC-Duke Basketball Rivalry is NOT good for the Community!
Why? Prime example: I was at work a couple of weeks ago with a known blow devil fan (typo intended), we partook in our usual banter, and at that time, the upcoming Feb 8th game between the two teams came up. Again, we had our little playful banter, where some words were exchanged, leading to some mild threats, and some family bashing. Nothing to intense though, we never talk about each others mother’s unless it gets too personal. All of it blew past, and I was off to lunch. Bojangle’s today, was in the mood for some fried chicken and dirty rice, (I ‘m a southerner). But anyway, I come back in and said to him, ‘Man, you must have really pissed a chick off!’ He asked why do I say that. I said cause someone really jacked up your motorcycle outside. He’s on his feet, talking about what did they do. I told him they spray painted all kinds of obscenities on it. He was half way out the door before he realized my snicker was part of our playful banter. His bike has Blue Devils and Duke Logos painted on it… The office got a good laugh, he felt a little foolish, and no one’s mother was degraded. All in good humor.
The day of the game, the office trash talking intensified. I’m the smallest guy in stature at work, and there are more Dukiees than Heels, so the suppressed Napoleon Complex reared it’s ugly head for a moment. Some things were said, some ridiculous bets were made, there were a couple of Your Mama comments said, and shortly after, some pushing and shoving pursued. Nothing too bad though, or at least not like last year when two guys lost their jobs (just kidding, they were only put on probation)! So anyhow, the night of the big game. I’m getting and sending messages. I’m telling one guy that he needs to get to bed early so he can honor our bet. I told him to make sure he picks up my breakfast in the morning, reminding him that I wanted link sausage, not patties, and that I like my eggs over easy, and my grits hot (again, I’m from the south). Another guy messaged me talking about we should double the bet, saying instead of us having to pay one semester of college tuition for the winning parent’s kid, we should make it a whole year. Blah, blah, blah…you get the picture.
Now during the game, the messaging stopped. We are true fans; we ain’t face booking or tweeting during this time. We are scarfing down wings, not even looking at your plate. I ate one wing twice, a couple of times, because I didn’t realize the meat was all off. We are chugging beer, we will take our eyes off the TV for a brief second to make sure we have the right brew in our hands, or to see if it is empty. Every time out, commercial time out that is, we are laying claim to our seats, and elbowing to and from the bathroom. I was at Sunset Grill, and was like I wish a effing ^&*&^ would take my seat! You rarely sit down during these games, but it’s the principle. UNC was losing most of the first half, but took the lead in the waning seconds before half time. There were high fives going all around the bar, me and complete strangers were hugging and cheering and jumping around, it was awesome.
Then the second half came and my boys were on fire, they dominated the second half. We had a nice lead, and the game was nearing the conclusion. I took the time to order another bud, even dug through my plate for some poor uneaten wing…found one teriyaki half eaten and finished that off. Gave a couple of toasts, the manly kind where you just grunt and say ‘yeaahh’ and clang bottles together. And suddenly I heard, somewhere in the crowd, someone say ‘oh shit!’ All of the Tarheel fans heard it, and turned their eyes away from the Dukie they were currently tormenting, and looked at the nearest tv. Duke was down by one, two seconds left, with the ball! The Rivers boy pulled up from behind the arc, Zeller lunged to block, and the ball sunk through the hoop. Simultaneously the backboard lit up and the buzzer sounded, giving Duke the win. Now, a bar which had started off rather evenly balanced, had mostly Tar Heel fans (most of the Duke fans had slipped out quietly and unnoticed); we sat their quiet and stunned, jaws dropped, beer bottles slipping out of hands unaware that they had lost their grip. It seemed surreal, the handful of remaining duke fans were jumping up and down, high-fiving and doing man toasts, celebrating our celebration! The waitress didn’t even ask, she saw our faces and knew. She simply brought us out tabs. She knew there would be no after party celebrating and huge tipping tonight. I felt her pain; a bunch of inebriated UNC fans after a win against Duke was a potential pay day for her. I turned my phone off and left.
The next day, I went to the local spot and picked up my coworker’s breakfast plate, I’ve been doing this going on a week now. He gets hash browns rather than grits, and he likes the patty sausage rather than the link…he is such loser. I opened up a college fund for my other coworker’s kid. The little rascal ain’t even that smart, probably want even go to college! I’m going to have to get a part time job to honor that bet.
A few days have passed since the game, and yesterday a coworker calls me up and said they were renaming the Dean Dome the Three Rivers Stadium. Why, I uncaringly asked. He cheerfully gloats and says, because of all those threes Austin Rivers was raining on y’all. Ha, ha, you are so clever I unenthusiastically retorted back. We play Duke again on Saturday, March the 3rd. I’ve already doubled the bet on the kid’s college tuition. Hopefully my Tar Heels can pull this one off, because I really think my baby girl has her heart set on college. A loss would be devastating. Maybe she can go to a technical school…