Sports fans have a license to be fanatic, which isn't pretty. We can act in a way that would get us ridiculed, fired or killed in most contexts. For instance, I can't insert half of a hot dog in my mouth and shout at my students while spewing out beef bits. I can't tell a poker opponent that he sucks. I can't drunkenly chest bump strangers on Franklin Street. I just can't. Only superior men playing sports allow me to do these glorious things.
I was recently an ass. I said something that even sports fans should not say. I suggested that certain sports fans should stifle their enthusiasm because their team will play against mine. That is never acceptable under any circumstance. I would be crushed if only Carolina fans were fanatic. Home-field advantage does not give a school exclusive rights to pride. I wear my colors on Duke's campus, and I would expect them to wear theirs here. And when they do, I will tell them how I feel about their institution. I hope they tell me how they feel about mine because that is the beauty of sports; they turn ordinary people into passionate attorneys. We are as numerous, loud and disrespected as lawyers. But we have more fun.
The best of us have a loyalty that will not flag, and I defend those allegiances. I defend Alec Macaulay's Blue Devils bow ties, Shawne Hammett's Clemson flag and Caitlin Poore's Illini heart. I sometimes pull some Blue Hen spirit out of my sister. At least I try.
I may have said that a certain school was overrated hogwash, but of course that's only a passionate opinion. N.C. State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson and Notre Dame make being a Carolina sports fan fun. What would Carolina be without those guys? I'll slam them without apology from now until forever, but that's my privilege. It's also theirs.
But if Duke University pulled a hairy lip over its gargoyle face and swallowed, we'd all be better off.
Go Tar Heels, and go sports fans. May we always be loud and free.