In all of college sports (the only sports that matter) there is no rivalry quite like the basketball rivalry of the University of North Carolina, my alma mater, and Duke University, whose law school I declined to attend because I couldn't stand the idea of being on the same campus as Coach K. Now I live close by Duke, and my wife works there, but what can you do?
To start with, it's ancient. To second with, the teams play in the same conference. To third with, it matters. Since John Wooten's freak career and retirement, the odds would indicate in any given year that Carolina or Duke will be the national champion. There have been years where one had the better team while the other went on to grab the championship. To fourth with, there is no better example over the past fifty years of the eternal struggle between good and evil than that of UNC, led by white knights Dean Smith, Bill Guthridge, and Roy Williams, against Duke, led by dark lords Vic Bubas, Bill Foster, and Mike Krzyzewski. To fifth with, the schools are twelve miles apart.
It's as though Frodo went to Mordor two or three times a year. And yet I'm not sure to this day whether I'd prefer to sweep Duke and lose in the NCAA tournament (1991), or lose to Duke and win a national championship (2005).
To sixth with, many of "us" are friends with and respect some of "them," who must be merely misguided. It's not melodrama. It's tragedy.
And it's tonight. In a few hours, I'll be the happiest man in the world, or, well let's not think about the alternative.