Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Making sense of nonsense

Now the writing will flow out of me. Coming back after the chess obsession was difficult. I did not feel like I was on my game for my last post but now, after those trust fund whiners won the NCAA tournament, my writing will flow like my words flowed at Linda's not one hour ago.

First of all, before I even say a word about the children down the street, let me say that I love Carolina fans. None of my friends wanted to watch the game tonight, and I understand that sentiment. I did not watch the first half, but I could not stay away after finding out that Butler, bless their hearts, trailed by one at intermission. So I saddled up at Linda's and met my two new best friends, one to my left and one to my right. I was awfully proud of the one to my right, a Master of Arts candidate who cheered like a Butler undergraduate while he mastered the phonetics of vocal performance during commercial breaks. I ordered my drinks from Laura Taylor, a woman so named for the Tar Heel who invented the football sack. The other patrons were rowdy and supportive. We were in the Carolina boat together.

I wish I did not care who won tonight's game. I think I would be a better person if I was over it before it was over. I thought I was over it after Saturday night, but I had not yet remembered Duke's obvious shortcomings to lessen the venomous flames in my stomach. Tonight I remembered those shortcomings.

One such shortcoming surfaces in a story about the one Duke friend I ever had. Carolina lost in the ACC tournament in 2009, and this friend sent me a Facebook message that said "sorry how it ended for your team." Of course, this was a petulant lie. He was not sorry. His sarcasm resembled a disrespectful but intelligent 6-year-old because that is par for the course at Duke University. Carolina won the national championship a month later. I said not a word to him. I never befriended another Duke child. I learned my lesson.

I might be wallowing now; I understand this. But I sense some real rational thinking underneath the anger. Carolina has five championships. Duke has fewer. Carolina has a better recruiting class for next season and might win by 33 points in both games. Harrison Barnes, the most skilled and intelligent recruit in his class, selected Carolina after Duke chased him for three years. Carolina wins with class for reasons that I cannot briefly explain to those of you who do not know the Carolina way. Let's just say that Carolina invented all the great things about basketball: pointing to the passer, standing up for substitutions, etc. A guy in Kansas thought of putting a ball in a hole in the air after a Scottish guy did it on the ground, but we did all the rest. Basketball would not be basketball if it were not for Carolina, Dean Smith and Roy Williams. Everyone thanks us for these contributions except Duke. Teaching manners is one challenge of education.

My landlord, a die-hard Carolina fan, told me that Duke was a good fit for some people. I suppose it is a good idea to separate Duke people from society. Carolina would not be Carolina if Duke did not exist because some of them would go here. Duke cleans up Carolina's classrooms so that we may think freely and humbly and impact society through education, medicine, law, journalism and public policy. Duke alumni compete with each other to make the most money while they stare at computers and self portraits.

In this sense Duke's victory is sort of like aliens occupying the earth. Of course it sucks, but we cannot be upset with them in a human way. They do not have the same goals or values as compassionate people, so the best we can do is oust them to restore order for ourselves.

Order is around the corner, and Duke fans know it. They suffered through five years of Carolina dominance and wondered if they would be relevant again. They are relevant right now, but it will all be over soon. Their fate is waiting for them eight miles away.

1 comment:

  1. J.D. surely you do not mean such harsh things! I am a Duke fan and your friend... right??? :)