The Importance of Carolina Basketball
(Image courtesy of https://www.glamour.com/story/one-tree-hills-cast-and-creator)
One Tree Hill should have prepared me for North Carolinian basketball culture. I was excited to cheer on the correct shade of blue as I began my studies at UNC. For the first time in television history, a teen drama underplayed the importance of basketball culture. I am fortunate that I could attend a Duke and UNC basketball game this semester. With that, I want to tell you which game you should see if you have the chance.
(Image courtesy of https://today.duke.edu/2020/03/rivals-court-collaborators-scholarship)
The Duke V. Wake Forest game had an unfair advantage over the UNC game. My friend's older brother works in sports communication. This connection enabled the group to have unparalleled access while we were at the game. We could go on the court, visit the family room, and relax in the VIP room during halftime. The Cameron Stadium's student section enables you to stand inches away from the court.
(Cameron Indoor Stadium is now certified for accommodating children and adults with autism, dementia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions. Photo courtesy of Duke Athletics. Image was found on https://today.duke.edu/2019/12/cameron-indoor-stadium-becomes-sensory-inclusive)
In the classic American novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, character Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout how you don't know how another person lives until you walk a mile in their shoes. I am beginning to understand how the other blue half lives. I felt like I was at the NASDAQ trading floor when a highly coveted company became public. At Duke, Duke fans communicate with words and hand motions.
(Video courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b05CMl4hwcc&t=80s )
One of my favorite parts was watching the Marching Band watching the game. The MVP of school spirit had to be the clarinet player. This student needs to have a standing ovation for his efforts. First, he had the best precision when it came to hand movements. Secondly, he would jump what appeared to be a foot off the ground every time Duke stole the ball. Finally, after exerting so much energy, the student would play his clarinet with such enthusiasm that it made me, A Tar Heel, want Duke to win. I don't know who the band member is or if he will ever read this, but to the clarinet player, I hope you bring your passion and enthusiasm to every task in your life.
(Image depicts the The Bikini Bottom Super Band prepares to play a portion of “Sweet Victory” [Picture Credit: YouTube] Image was found at https://gnnguidepost.org/2368/news/sweet-victory-at-super-bowl-liiis-halftime-show/)
Duke won the game in the final two seconds. My graduate school friends were horrified when I told them that I sang the Duke alma mater song when they won. I couldn't help it; the words were on the screen.
(Image courtesy of Duke Athletics. Image was found on https://goduke.com/news/2022/2/15/mens-basketball-williams-putback-dunk-lifts-no-9-duke-over-wake-76-74.aspx)
The moral of the Duke Game is this: sometimes stepping out of your bubble can be really fun.
(Image courtesy of Duke Athletics. Image was found on https://goduke.com/news/2022/2/19/mens-basketball-no-9-duke-wins-fourth-straight-beats-fsu-88-70.aspx)
The UNC game was a different beast. I won student tickets in the lottery. I asked one of my great friends, Janina, to come with me. She is the Meredith Grey to my Christiania Yang. We went through the COVID-19 graduate school trenches to emerge stronger and semi unscathed.
(Gif courtesy of Wix.com)
Before I tell you more, I want to tell you about one of my friends, Adam L. Adam L. has been a friend and mentor since I was eighteen. Adam L. taught me the valuable lesson of the ask, which is a skill that is becoming increasingly rare. To perform the ask, a person needs to have the confidence and understanding of the rules to be your best advocate.
(Image courtesy of https://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/better-asks-getting-people-to-give-volunteer-and-more/)
You might wonder why I mentioned the lesson of the ask. This is why; I befriended an usher, let's name him Gene, and asked him if we could sit three rows from the court. By the time we got to the game, the Student section was packed, and before making the trek to the nose bleeders, I wanted to see if we could get a great view. Glen said we could sit there as long as no one has tickets for those seats. Luckily for us, no one had tickets for those seats. So Janina and I sat in $800 ticket seats for free. But, the seats doubled in value when the game got into overtime.
(A picture of me and Janina at the game)
At the UNC game, I felt like I was in the Chapel Hill city hall. In a sea of the correct shade of blue, fans from all backgrounds and ages came together to cheer on the Tar Heels as they played Syracuse. During overtime, the Tar Heel won 89-77.
(Image courtesy of UNC Athletics. Image depicts Armando Bacot. Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati)
After the game, we went to the side of the building to try to meet Coach Hubert. We did not meet him, but I did meet Mama Edith. Mama Edith is a die-hard Carolina fan from Willington who knows everyone. While waiting for her boys, she struck up conversations with coaches, players, and arena personnel. I loved how she made everyone feel at home on a cold February night. After meeting Mamma Edith, I asked a Carolina athletic employee to drive us to the car. We walked around a mile to get to the game, but the thought of walking uphill to the car seemed Sisyphusian. He gave us a ride from the basketball arena to the football stadium, cutting our walk by twenty minutes.
(Image of Mamma Edith)
Who is the winner of the game? If you want to watch athletic precision, go to Duke. Coach K. is a monument in the game of basketball. It's his last season, and I was so lucky that I had the chance to watch him win against a great team. If you want to feel at home, Carolina is the clear winner.
(Image courtesy of UNC Athletics. Image depicts Brady Manek and Leaky Black. Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati)