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Friday, April 16, 2010
Who hates Duke? Not me, certainly not me

HAVING BEEN A CAROLINA BASKETBALL FAN ever since Al Wood's senior season (which just so happened to be my first year in graduate school at UNC's illustrious School of Journalism and Mass Communication), I know about ABC fans.  (In case you don't know what an ABC fan is, they are, usually proudly self-proclaimed, "Anybody But Carolina" fans.  Sometimes they even paste it on the bumper of their car.)  Now, why would a fan pull against someone else's team, in some cases even more than they pull for their own team?

Let us answer this query using the time-tested Socratic dialogue.

A couple of questions:  Which is the most hated team in professional baseball?  Which is the most hated team in professional football (over the long haul, not just this year)?  And, on a slightly different topic, which is the most hated country in the world?

Now that you have answered those questions, answer this one:  In pro baseball, pro football and the Olympic combined event of geopolitics and economics, which teams and country are the most successful, respectively, in baseball, football and generally dominating the world?

[For those keeping score at home, the answers are the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team -- to hate) and the other Yankees (Please Go Home!), that is, the United States of America.]

Final question, anyone see a correlation here? 

Good answer, Bob.  Could you elaborate on "yes"? 

That's right, they are synonymous.  The correlation is one to one.

Now let us consider the world of college basketball.  What are currently the four most hated teams in college basketball?

That's correct, Anne.  That would be Kentucky, Kansas, UNC and Duke.

Now, which schools have the most wins in the history of college basketball? 

Right again, Anne.  Kentucky, Kansas, UNC and Duke.  Anyone see a pattern beginning to emerge?

Thanks, Bob, but could you elaborate on "yes"?

That's right, they are synonymous.  The correlation is one to one.

So, class, what conclusion are we to draw?  (Let me give you a hint, it is as easy as ABD.)

That's right, Mike.  When the other kids start to pick on you, it just may be because they are jealous of your success, envious of your trophies and generally tired of losing to you.  They hate you because deep down they want to be you -- except, of course, for the Christian Laettner part.

As for me, a fan of Carolina, one of the few schools which have had more basketball success than Duke, I have no need to hate Duke.  Honestly, I don't hate, despise or even really dislike Duke (except, of course, for the Christian Laettner part) -- but I sure do love beating them.  That's 'cause it is more fun to beat a good team than it is to beat a bad one. (Sorry, State fans, it just is.)

And, another thing, about "people hating Duke," has anyone, by any chance, ever noticed the boorish behavior of many Duke fans, as epitomized by their beloved Cameron Crazies, the unrivaled masters of the obscene chant?  Any possibility that the Crazies have ever crossed any boundaries that brought disdain back onto their team from the fans of the teams they have verbally abused?

I didn't think so either.  So, I guess it is just the high graduation rate that ABD fans despise.

Arrogant, gloating fans in general can also be a problem for any winning team.  But, speaking for Carolinafandom at large, it is hard to be humble, when, for example, your school has won more conference sports titles (39) this millennium (not including this unfinished academic year) than any other ACC school, and has done so in 17 different sports.  So it would not be becoming to even mention the six national titles in four sports in the same period.  I think that those few of you among my readers who are not Tar Heel fans know exactly what I mean.

Gary D. Gaddy remembers one year when he was working at UNC, when, across all sports, Carolina won more ACC championships than the other seven or eight conference schools put together -- and cannot imagine what the other schools' fans found not to love.

A version of this story is set to be published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 16, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


It took him a while, but apparently Coach K finally got around to reading my article. Coach Krzyzewski was quoted in the News & Observer on June 9, 2010 as saying he gets fans rooting against the Devils: "I understand it. I would rather be booed for being good than for being bad."


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 10:36 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 1:47 PM EDT
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