The Case for Carolina Vs. Duke

Where I grew up (In the Northeast, Boston to be exact) colleges were more about the academics than sports.  You’d have the Big East basketball rivalry, some hockey and that was about it.  But that’s certainly not the way it is in NC and in the Triangle.  The rivalry between Carolina, Duke, State, ECU and Wake Forest can be fierce.  But I got dropped in-state with no allegiances or preferences, a babe in the North Carolina woods.

Of course after two years of being immersed in Carolina blue, banners, bumper stickers and even fire trucks, I picked a side.  Go Heels!  Imagine my surprise after I moved into Raleigh and starting working on Centennial Campus, part of the NCSU main campus.  If I popped up my Carolina blue head I was just asking for it to be cut off.  And I really couldn’t understand why.  Shouldn’t we all join together and hate Duke?  But no, most people in the Triangle do hate Carolina but I had to know why.  I know a lot of State people so I had to dig in further.  After I got some beers into them, I’d ask why, hoping for the truth.  Here’s what I heard and my impression…

“There are a lot of Carolina fans that would never be accepted or welcomed by UNC people”  I’ll have to read between the lines here but are they saying that Carolina is elitist and would look down on people that were less-educated or not affluent?  My thought is no, UNC has Schools of Social Work, Public Health and City Planning, the types of careers where you’re underpaid and give it all back to the community: rich, poor, educated, uneducated, everyone.  Don’t agree with this one at all.

“Carolina women are only there to get married and get their M.R.S”  Well I have heard the same complaints about Meredith College and understand, yes.  Lots of Carolina women go into careers that are not particularly high-paying (see above).  And yet I’m thinking that if you want to find a husband, why go to a school that’s 60% women.  So I don’t really believe that one.

“Chapel Hill and Carrboro are filled with a bunch of hippie, wierdos”  Uh yeah, that one’s sorta true.  I moved to Carrboro because it was the closest thing I could find to San Francisco.  And yes, in a state that’s historically pretty conservative, you might find the People’s Republic of Carrboro a bit unsettling but it’s certainly not worth hatred.

“Carolina fans are so smug and don’t even consider State to be competition”  Well yeah, Carolina has a long history of sports excellence but at one point and time, Carolina vs. State was the rivalry.  It’s just been overtaken over the last two decades since Coach K came on the scene.  And I’m thinking Carolina people are not natural haters but yeah, we like to compete. The Wolfpack?  Great teams, very competitive but not a team to hate but that doesn’t mean Carolina peeps don’t respect them.

In my limited experience, there seems to be a LOT more money and elitism at a private university like Duke, one that claims to be the Harvard of the South.  All in all I don’t think I’m ever going to change any minds here.  People grow up on one side of the fence or the other, and it’s not a rational discussion.    The truth is that a higher percentage of Dookies are from out of state and when they graduate, leave the area.  It’s hard to hate somebody that’s not around. Leaving friction and frustrations to be borne out between NCSU, ECU and Carolina.  But wouldn’t it make sense that the people from the NC public university system to take one side and dislike all those liberal, snobby people from the Northeast at Duke?

Uh-oh, why are y’all looking at me like that?!

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