The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Column: Do better, UNC fans


Daniel Wilco is a senior writer. He is a senior journalism major from Atlanta, Ga.

Forgive me, father, for I am about to sin: Duke is better than North Carolina.

Wednesday night, I had the privilege of being courtside for the Tar Heels’ descent into Cameron Indoor Stadium, sandwiched between a table with six inches of leg room and thousands of sweaty, blue-paint-covered Crazies who bumped me, reached over me and caressed my head for four hours. And I loved every second of it.

Saturday, I took my dad to the Dean Dome for the Georgia Tech game, one filled with one of the most memorable moments in UNC basketball history as the team paid tribute to the late Dean Smith by running the Four Corners offense. How did it compare?

“I was a little disappointed that more of our crowd didn’t have more savvy,” Roy Williams said. “I felt like they were asleep most of the day anyway.”

Now, it’s not completely fair to compare UNC-Duke to a blowout of unranked Georgia Tech. But after being there for both, I can say one had the most jaw-dropping 10 seconds of sports I have ever witnessed, and the other was at Duke.

Even though the game wasn’t close, that moment was the perfect kickoff to an afternoon filled with more highlights than a pediatrician’s waiting room. Yet for the most part, I’d have to agree with Roy. The fans sucked.

“That’s not intended to be criticism,” Williams said. “But it’s criticism.”

The Dean Dome can never be Cameron Indoor, and every game can’t be UNC-Duke. But it can be better than what we have now.

Duke has the Cameron Crazies, who stand from tip-off until the final buzzer packed tighter than sardines while not smelling much better. Every layup elicits eardrum-shattering banshee cries, while 3-pointers and dunks make you question how a 747 snuck in behind you.

UNC has the wine-and-cheese crowd, who stand only for the national anthem, don’t fill their seats completely until a few minutes have ticked off the clock and can’t always be bothered to wear UNC gear, let alone face paint.

Making the lower bowl seats opposite the benches a student section would leave plenty of prime real estate for the big spenders and put the loudest fans closest to the court. But for now, I offer another plea through the voice of Roy:

“Come in and invest. Show up with your lungs rested on Tuesday night.”

Yes, that’s intended to be a challenge.


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