I always hated it when alumni came back and waxed rhapsodic about their undergrad years. “Yes,” I’d always think, “I know there were kegs in the dorms, there was free love outside Bingham Hall, 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, I’d mellow once I graduated. I’d gain a little perspective, 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. My eye-twitching contempt of Dook’s basketball team grew even more intense. How couldn’t it, when faced with such a consistent hoopster jerk factory?
How can you watch any Koach K press conference and not feel this man is a modern-day Narcissus so fixated on success that he’d 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 that there isn’t some person 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.