Hailed as the greatest rivalry in sports; Duke vs UNC is meeting for the 241st time tonight. In all honesty I really could care less about the game, but I respect the hell out of the history and will most likely watch. Why ? Because people will be talking about it and as a bartender I need to be able to know what happen. I have to cater to the frontrunners who will be flocking the bar during happy hour. Now I must admit when it comes to college basketball I had a brief love affair with Duke, the reason? This dude, JJ Redick.
He was the man from 2002-2006; not only was he draining three’s but he was pissing off every fake Tar Heel fan in the nation. Cocky and arrogant he resembled a new day Christian Laettner. I’m man enough to admit it, I rooted for Duke. But as the years went by I found myself doing exactly what my father did, and thats root for the area college teams. This wasn’t something new to our family, we had Kerry Kittles posters in the basement, and Jammer Nelson St. Joe’s Jerseys, hell TEMPLE was written in bold letters across the beer pong table in our basement. Local Philly college basketball is where my heart is, and I’ve come to realize one true fact. Once the bandwagon factor of North Carolina / Duke wears off as we grow into adulthood, who really gives a shit other then these people?
For some reason ESPN and the major sports networks believe that the nation really wants to see who wins this game. I’ll tell you what a 90 second highlight clip will do just fine because I have no vying interest in this game. Is it because there is no baseball, no football, no meaningful NBA or NHL games on television? Does this game REALLY deserve to be compared to a Red Sox vs Yankees rivalry? I can guarantee there will be at least 5-10 people who come to the bar tomorrow wearing their shade of blue and wanting to talk about the game. Majority of them will have no affiliation with either team. There is the classic “Bro you know I love Michael Jordan, I’ve liked UNC forever” or “I really respect coach K and I’ll always root for Duke”. I get both, we have all heard these types of things from their fans. I laugh at those people.
Like I said earlier I respect the history, enough for me to even write a blurb about it. I wonder if I’m correct in my assessment of the rest of the country, if you didn’t attend either school or bet on the game, there is just no cause for excitement. I guarantee I won’t go into the closet and put on that old #4 Redick jersey, but the game will be on in the background because anything is better then Team Ninja Warrior. I’ll stay rooting for the Villanova Wildcats and their class act head coach Jay Wright, lets hope the magic ride continues long into March. Great matchup vs Temple tonight. Big 5 basketball is alive and well.