Last night I watched the Duke/Carolina game. For my AL family, it's the basketball equivalent of the Iron Bowl, except weirder.
For one thing, it's a private college (Duke) against the state's oldest public university (UNC). When my sister-in-law was accepted to both schools many years ago, her acceptance letter from Duke included the amount and deadline for the first payment. The amount of the payment decided that Duke was not an option.
Another thing that is insanely crazy is this ticket system they have for awarding students tickets to the games. Students at Duke have to camp outside in the dead of winter. They take roll every morning (rumor has it many students don't sleep there but just put there stuff up and register and then show up at roll call) and the ones surviving at the end of the time period get tickets to certain games.
The Duke fans call themselves Cameron Crazies. (Cameron is the name of the stadium.) And after watching them during the ballgame last night, no one has to ask WHY they're called crazies. It's the dead of winter. We had the coldest weather EVER in the record of the state last night, and these kids went to the game, without coats, wearing shorts and body paint. Even some of the band members were shirtless and had painted their bodies to look like they were band shirts. Somehow I can't see that flying with the million dollar band (although few people watch the basketball games, so who would know what the AL band does when they're off the field?). As the camera zoomed into the stands between plays, three things came to mind: Smurfs, Dr. Seuss characters, and an insane asylum. I will say the cookie monster outfits in support of Cook were a smart and unique play on words.
And the last thing that still baffles this transplant is the bonfires. No, not for pep rallies...for victory parties. One year the Duke kids even burned their own park benches. No kidding. And at UNC it's even worse...the drunken idiots (let's hope they're drunk to do something so stupid) try to JUMP the smaller fires. I'm not kidding! They actually play "Jack be nimble..." from the old nursery rhyme and jump over the FIRE! I've always wondered why the media shows and reports on this every year as if it's a great thing, but they never report the next week how many students showed up at the UNC burn center or the student campus medical facilities for treatment.
Even though it seems almost everyone here pulls for UNC (which many years ago I ignorantly insulted my brother in law Todd by asking him why he was wearing a t-shirt with a muddy foot), their rancor over their team rivals the most abnoxious Alabama fans, and I hate listening to them taunt/whine (depending on their win/loss) so I can't bring myself to pull for them.
While Duke is known as a place of excellence, they also excel in all things, even perversion, and their liberal bent is as bad, if not worse, than UNC. Sometimes I tell people I pull for Duke because they're the Blue Devils and my high school mascot was the Blue Devils, but the reality is - it's not my fight. Sports does not run in my veins, and picking a team in a sport that I've never followed, well, my transplanted roots haven't run that deep, yet.
But I have to admit...it was a great game. :)