As a diehard sports fan, you are very loyal to your team. Your fandom or loyalty means you will hate certain rivals and teams. As a lifelong Philly sports fan, I have and always will hate the Cowboys, Celtics, Penguins and Mets. It’s just the unwritten rule of being a Philly sports fan.
We become fans of a team because our parents have raised us that way or due to geography, we support the team for the area we live. We may also support a school we had family members attend or a team from an area we used to live. Some may be “bandwagon jumpers” and will like a good team simply because they’re good.
Being raised in central New Jersey means you either root for New York or Philly teams. My dad grew up in South Jersey as a Philly fan and so I became one too. My brother went to Carolina so I am a Tarheel fan. That won’t change.
Often with a rivalry, games are always close regardless of how good or bad the rivals are that year. That’s what makes rivalries so special. Look at the record between Duke and Carolina during Coach K’s tenure: Duke 50 wins and Carolina 49 wins.
With rivalries you can respect the other school while also hating them. I respect what Coach K has achieved but also can’t stand him and the god-like status certain networks hold him to. It’s just how rivalries work.
A fun part of rivalries is that people often come together to cheer for one side or the other. Even if we have no connection to either school, we side with one team or the other. It’s fun to go back and forth about what team is better. A retired coworker and Duke fan and I still text each other every time Duke and Carolina play to razz each other about which school won.
That’s the beauty of sports. It’s something to bring people together even if you’re on opposite sides of the rivalry. You can come together to watch and cheer for your teams and forget about everything else for those 40 minutes (which is really 2 hours with commercials, halftime and time outs).
So I head into this weekend not hoping for the storybook ending for the legendary Coach K. I want Carolina to ruin his final Final 4 game just as they spoiled his final regular season game.
It’s not mean or disrespectful, it’s just sports rivalries and being a diehard fan.
For these 40 minutes I will be hoping the Tarheels can pull off another win over their rival and continue this magical run.