On the day of the game between two of the biggest rivals in the United States, it is only appropriate to post about what everyone is discussing at the water cooler at work – the Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tarheels men’s basketball game tonight at Cameron Stadium at 9:00p.m.
The Duke vs. UNC (or UNC vs. Duke, depending on your allegiance) rivalry is one of the oldest and most heated rivalries in men’s basketball. Even though I was born and bred in New Orleans and grew up an avid SEC fan, I was well aware of the rivalry long before relocating to Durham. However, since moving here I have realized the true passion people in the Triangle Region have for their chosen team. It is the third question people ask you when they meet you. “What is your name? Where do you work? Are you a UNC or Duke fan?” When I was interviewing for jobs, I was even asked which basketball team I would root for during a few interviews.
According to Wikipedia: “The Carolina–Duke rivalry, also referred to as the UNC–Duke rivalry, the Duke–Carolina rivalry, The Battle of Tobacco Road, or The Battle of the Blues, is a fierce rivalry, particularly in men’s college basketball, between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University athletic teams. It is considered one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports: a poll conducted by ESPN in 2000 ranked the basketball rivalry as the third greatest North American sports rivalry, and Sports Illustrated on Campus named it the #1 “Hottest Rivalry” in college basketball and the #2 rivalry overall in its November 18, 2003 issue. The intensity of the rivalry is augmented by the proximity of the two universities, located only eight miles apart roughly along U.S. Highway 15-501, and the dissimilar funding structures of the schools, as North Carolina is a public university and Duke is a private university.”
The Research Triangle Park is located smack in the middle of Duke, UNC and NC State. With global businesses pulling talent both locally from these fertile university towns, in addition to the thousands that have relocated here from all over the world, basketball is a common thread that initiates conversation. And community.
Even amongst our own crowd here at the Research Triangle Foundation, we’ve got stakes in the ground.
“I’m a Duke grad. ‘nuff Said.”
“Easy for me. Both of my daughters are UNC graduates.”
“I am not biased either way, I always cheer for the teams from NC, so no matter who wins this one, I will be happy.” Editor’s note: Pretty sure she’s the only person in this area who feels this way.
“Neither. I’m a Big East fan – can we say let’s go HOYAS.” Editor’s note: I don’t recommend making that proclomation in public, these quotes are anonymous for a reason.
“I root for UNC because I was on Franklin Street for the national championship in 1982 – in my mom’s stomach – and because my family went to the Dean Dome, not church, on Sundays. I cheer on the heels because I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergrad and am currently pursuing my MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School. I support my beloved tarheels because of the tradition, integrity and quality that is woven throughout the basketball program … and the entire university.”
“I root for State.”
“I root for UNC because I’m a graduate student there and because one of the first things I learned upon moving to the area is that you HAVE to pick a team. So I picked!”
“Relocated to the region nearly 7 years ago. Still and always will be an Oregon Duck. But. After attending today’s inspiring celebration as one of the 100 best communities for young people, in addition to the Greater Durham Chamber Annual Meeting & Luncheon – Durham represents a community that’s passionate, creative, diverse. A community that cares. And it is because of its unity, even though I live in Cary – I stand behind Durham. Go Duke!”
As someone that has listened to all the stories from my fiancé and soon to be brother and sister-in-law about tenting for the games during their undergrad days at Duke and what it takes to show true commitment to a team, I gotta say it, GO DUKE!
Which team are you rooting for tonight?