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Life On Tobacco Road

This is to help me calm down after certain comments made during lunch today. Enjoy kids.

How can you tell if someone has relatively close ties to North Carolina?

Easy. Ask about their opinion on college basketball.

You may find a few diehard NC State fans (bless their little loyal hearts) but the majority will answer with a reply of varying vehemence supporting one of the Tobacco Road schools. If  their answer is none of the above then they either do not follow college basketball, are not from here, or are not human in which case you should ignore them.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously, the UNC-Chapel Hill/Duke rivalry is a brutal cult to those uninitiated. To those who grew up with it or go to one of the aforementioned schools, it’s a way of life. “Survival of the fittest” at its best.

My mom, even 21 years after her graduation, is still a devout fan. March Madness was a holiday onto its own in my family where we would all gather at my house and watch the heels make their way to the top. The volume at these gatherings was such that you could stand at the end of the driveway and be able to tell how the game was faring. Hell, my mom has a piece of Carmichael Auditorium on a plaque in the study of our house, next to an autographed Michael Jordan poster.

The students in both cities largely view the other side with distaste. I have never had one of my friends here disagree with my choice to date Eva (who is both white and a mom). Their only possible problem with her? She’s a Duke student/deluded basketball fan. This time I’m not kidding.

So when UNC beats Duke twice (looking for a clean sweep) the city explodes into a celebration rivaling that of a NCAA Championship win. People climbing up street lights only to be foiled by the grease cops applied beforehand, girls flashing strangers for beads, spontaneous keg parties, and a few thousand gathering on Franklin Street chanting the fight song. Craziness.

To close, I’d like to share with you one of the greatest Youtube videos I’ve ever seen. It could be considered a bit NSFW because of language.

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  1. March 10, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    Knowing your affiliations, I’ll say this — I respect both the North Carolina and Duke programs for all that they’ve done, but life would be a lot easier if they just played in another conference. Well, at least just for basketball season. Those two Ws during football season are worth their weight in gold.

    /dislikes Duke
    //hates UNC…0-53, bleh
    ///Clemson alum

    I need to clarify and say I am not a big UNC football fan. Just basketball and in the last year, women’s soccer.

  2. March 10, 2009 at 9:12 PM

    Yeah, can’t say I know of any rivalries like this between schools in my area, though that’s not to say that people don’t care about varsity sports around here; back during Frosh Week, I had to step between my friend and a sophmore quarterback when he made a jab at last year’s dismal season.
    That incident has been my only involvement in varsity sports to date 😛

    This is basketball country, it’d kind of impossible not to hear about the rivalry.

  3. March 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    Oh my lord… HOW had I not seen that video?!? That is AWESOME.

    And this will always and forever be one of my faves…

    GO HEELS!!!!!!

    My neighbour showed it to me after the game last weekend so I just found out about it myself. I’ve seen that video before. It still makes me smile.

  4. March 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    Now that I live in NC, I’ve become quite familiar with this Tobacco Road rivalry, although I have yet to jump on that bandwagon. Personally, I hate basketball, so I don’t see it happening, but I can see the complete madness that surrounds those games. Pretty damn nuts.

    After attending two colleges that are crazy about it, I’ve learned to love it beyond the mere acceptance of the sport I had as a kid/teenager.

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