Folks who know me well, know I'm a big fan of the Duke University Blue Devils! This goes wayyyyy back, as my parents both graduated from Duke, where my dad attended on a football scholarship. Yes, I was a Duke football fan long before I saw a Duke basketball game. What makes this a little more unusual is that I grew up in SEC territory, where most of my friends pulled for Auburn or Alabama!
My sister followed the family tradition by attending Duke, and lo and behold, I did as well! Then, some 15 years after graduating, I returned to Duke to work. So, my Duke blue blood runs thick!
So, you can understand if I have trouble sometimes pulling for the "other team," the UNC Tarheels, the newly crowned 2009 NCAA besketball champions! UNC is Duke's biggest rival, and sometimes it can be a bitter one. But, I do have fond memories of spending time in Chapel Hill my senior year. I even got to attend the first basketball game in the Dean Dome (which happened to be against Duke)!
Truth be told, though, I think that having another great basketball team in UNC down the road helps make Duke a better team. If the rivalry shut down, I think Duke would be hard pressed to find another consistently good conference team to replace UNC in the schedule. It's like being part of a class, group, or work department where everyone is busting their butts, so you're motivated to do the same.
There's something to be said for the company you keep (or want to keep). That's why we join clubs, churches, interest groups. Joining the Galloway training group in Raleigh last year has opened up my running world, and I get a kick out of seeing the people I met there out and about in the area. They're an active bunch by the nature of it being a running group, and most of them are faster than me. Probably without knowing it, many of them inspire me to want to be a better running.
Although I didn't watch the game last night (it was halftime when I clicked on the TV, but it was bedtime for me), and in fact I haven't watched any basketball games since Duke bowed out of the tournament, I am glad that a North Carolina and ACC team won the national title--eventhough it wasn't Duke! UNC makes for good company. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone I said so!We're rivals, you know!) ;-)