The other day I did something that I have done before, but regret every time.
Now, before your mind starts wandering, I’ll just tell you. I commented on an online message board that was mostly an argument between UNC and NC State fans.
Now these types of things don’t keep me up at night. I don’t suddenly think about the perfect comeback I should have used, or a relevant fact I forgot to point out indicating that Carolina is superior – which it is.
No, when I post on these message boards it just frustrates me because I can’t believe I spent valuable time posting on them. I try to take a high-level approach. I try to just state something I’m confident about. Perhaps something like, “Yeah, UNC lost to State this year in football, but we beat Va. Tech and Miami and are heading to a bowl game. I’m OK with that.”
Here’s where the trouble starts.
Sure I said I’m “OK” with losing to State if UNC has a good season. Sure some might even take that as a Tar Heel admitting that yeah, UNC lost to State and that sucks, but hey I’m a fan and glad that UNC had a good season.
No, no, no, sir. These are NC State fans we’re talking about.
I have entered myself into their arena. I have been thrown to the wolves — pun intended. I have subjected myself to the rantings of fans whose sole purpose in life is to rebuke me, no matter how indifferent I am to their irrelevant school in West Raleigh.
I let them know this, of course, already hating myself for continuing this charade. I don’t really care if they think they’re our rival. I really don’t. But for some reason I find the need to say something to the effect of “You are not our rival. Duke is.”
This is probably the single worst thing you can say to a State fan.
That’s when the name calling starts. I think the average N.C. State fan tries to come up with a new nickname for UNC every day. I’ve heard many: Pastel Pansies, Cry-o-whine- uh, UNX (which I’ve only seen online and am still not sure what it means), Chapel Hell and my personal (and most State fans’) favorite, the Tar Holes. They’ll also send you pictures like this:
I’m sure an NCSU student somewhere happily spent hours on that picture.
Anyway at this point, the State fans are in defense mode in regards to why they are UNC’s true rival, and you will not hear any coherent argument, just their tried and yet untrue platform. Yeah, we’re both public schools, and yeah, both schools have mostly in-state students. But no, you are not our rival. You will never be our rival. There is a sacred rivalry on Tobacco Road, and the road leads to Durham.
They will not understand this. They’ll call you classless, though Dean Smith wrote the book on class. They’ll call you dumb, when many UNC freshmen also got into State and chose otherwise, as the joke goes. They’ll even insist that their gross, blocky, modern-looking bell tower is prettier than yours.
But mostly, they’ll say that they are your rival. It’s at this point that I once again realize the terrible mistake I’ve made by joining the discussion and go about my business doing something else.
I’ll check the board again to see what the State fans are saying about the Tar Hole who mysteriously stopped commenting on the message board.
“He’s a pastel pansy! He went to cry-o-whine-a to his mommy!”
Then I glance over all my “Beat Dook!” and “UNC > Duke” and “Duke Sucks!” memorabilia, and I get this warm sensation.
I’ll sleep well tonight.