Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tarheels vs. dookies

Tonight is a big night in our household, even though Ashley keeps forgetting why. I have been excited all week because tonight is UNC vs. Duke.

Sure, I love Stanford; I even paid $6 to get the last week's game on TV (#14 Stanford beat #9 Wazzu in OT). If pressed to rank my favorite teams #1 is Stanford, and a close #2 is UNC.

It is funny how amped I am to watch this game tonight. I doesn't really make sense why a California boy who went to Stanford gets so pumped for this. So here's a list of 10 reasons why I am so excited for tonight and why I have become such a Tarheel fan.

10) I'm a fanatic. Some people are fans of certain teams, but I have always been a fan of "College Basketball" in general. Since high school, I have scheduled to watch big matchups between quality opponents. I just love watching quality games, even if it is teams I have no affiliation with. But I get more excited if I 'adopt' a team to root for. And that brings me to...

9) The game is played in the Eastern Time Zone. On the east coast, I don't get to see Stanford or the rest of the Pac-10 play very often. The Pac-10 has a poopy TV deal with Fox Sports so it is rare for their games to be broadcast nationwide. When the games are broadcast, their is a good chance that they start after 7 PM Pacific Time, which means a very late night for watching on the east coast. I really enjoyed watching UNC vs. Duke in California when I could watch all the great games across the nation, but when I moved to the east coast, I discovered the culprit behind the infamous "East Coast Bias" was time zones. So, since it became rare to watch such a great game at a normal time of day, UNC/Duke became more important.

8) The quality of the schools. They are two of the best basketball programs in the country. They are two of the best all-around athletics programs in the country. But... they are two of the best academic schools in the country. They are the closest thing to the Stanford of the east.

7) The rivalry is intense. UNC and Duke are less than 10 miles from one another. Public school versus private school. It is very similar to Stanford-Cal, but the quality of basketball is always BETTER when combining both teams (mostly because Cal is really dropping the ball in matching Stanford's quality).

6) The history. Dean Smith, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Jerry Stackhouse, and Antawn Jamison and Roy Williams. UNC honors its past by continuing the tradition of quality. Speaking of keeping it old school...

5) UNC Jayvee. Check out this article on UNC's jayvee team. The JV team is a great example of why UNC is more than just a school or team, it is a tradition.

4) My adopted family. When I married Ashley, I married into a die hard Tarheel family. Ashley's dad went to UNC and his best friends are those he made through his fraternity there. Both of Ashley's sisters went to UNC and one of her brothers-in-law went there. Which brings me to...

3) I nearly died for UNC. Well almost nearly kind of died. When Ashley took me to visit her dad's house the first time (when we were dating), I thought it might be funny to wear my cousin's Duke t-shirt he had left at my house. Curt did not think it was so funny that I came to his house dressed so inappropriately. The next morning, when he and his wife were drinking their super healthy, cleanse your system out health drinks, he asked if I wanted one. I was actually intrigued, so I said sure. Although his wife prepared the drink, when she wasn't looking, he quadrupled the amount of "cleansing" powder and handed it to me. I drank the whole thing before she realized what happened and warned me. I spent the better time of the next two days in the bathroom because I had tried to impress Ashley's dad. Speaking of Ashley...

2) Ashley loves UNC. When I put a Stanford license plate frame on the back of the car, Ashley made me put a UNC one on the front. When I put a Stanford Cardinal sticker on the back window of my truck (may he rest in peace), Ashley wanted a UNC sticker on her car. Yes, Ashley went to BYU, but it is clear that her heart stayed with UNC.

1) I have to keep Ashley's love of UNC alive. To be honest, Ashley is not enthralled enough by watching the games unless I make a big deal out of it. If I didn't remind her of tonight's game ten times this week, she would have forgotten (had to remind her twice on the way to school today). If I didn't keep the UNC flame alive in our family, it would die out and then we would get kicked out of her family. And frankly, I don't want to see that happen, so I have willingly accepted the role of Tarheel and adopted myself into the Carolina family.

Anyway, I have grown to love the Tarheels as much as I love the state of North Carolina. As I often say about living in the South, I may not have been blessed to have been born a Tarheel, but I am smart enough to choose to become one.

I have been pumped for this game all week, reminding Ashley not to make any plans for tonight. It's too bad that Mike McBride isn't coming to visit until tomorrow, because it would have been fun to watch with him (even though he is a Duke fan). But I won't let that diminish my excitement. Nor the fact that our all-star point guard, Ty Lawson is out with a badly sprained ankle and out backup is out with a torn up knee. Nor the fact that Dick Vitale's voice problems healed in time for him to cover tonight's game. No, I didn't feel at all bad when he coincidentally was struck with throat problems following my "I hate Dicky V" rant because I figured it was a blessing to those living good lives. Of course, I would never wish life-threatening health problems on anybody, but if a small vocal problem meant that Dicky V only had to retire from commentating, I know this world would be a better place. No, I will not let those issues distract me from enjoying tonight's game.

So, tune in to tonight's game at 9 PM ET (starting late to make up for evil time zones) and root for the Tarheels. And if you get a chance, say a little prayer for a miracle of healing for Ty Lawson's ankle, but not for Vitale's voice.


  1. All I can say is, "Go Heels" and we just love you Chuck!

  2. I totally agree with your #1 reason. As much as your sisters in law love UNC, we just can't get into sports like guys can. Tonight Andy quizzed me and asked me to name UNC's starting 5, I only got 4(Tine only got 2). We need our husband to keep it alive.

    Andy has been so pumped all day today and is sitting 2 inches away from the TV right now watching the game. Go Heels! We hate DOOK!

  3. I love #3, that sounds like something my dad would do.