A Deconstruction: I'm in the band and root for Duke

By Adam Lucas | 7 Comment(s) | Posted

Typically, UNC-Duke week is filled with witty good-natured back-and-forth barbs about the relative merits of each school. Then there's this piece, written by a freshman in the UNC band who claims to be a hardcore Duke fan.

First, let's say that all of us did crazy things when we were in college that we almost immediately--or later--realized were VERY BAD IDEAS. This undoubtedly falls into that category, and since the writer is only a freshman, there's hope yet that he might be rehabilitated. And he probably is a good person with friends and a family who love him. When you live in Chapel Hill, you see freshmen do goofy things every day, and this certainly falls into that category. 

Unfortunately, he thought it was a good idea to write this, and now we need to take a look:

 <<With a mother who was a team manager, I was born into Duke basketball. >>

Alternate lead sentence: I was born into hardship and doomed to struggle to make friends.

<<She witnessed the rise of the Krzyzewski era. She felt the joy of victory with the illustrious team of ‘86, featuring Johnny Dawkins and Jay Bilas spearheading a sweep of the ACC Tournament.>>

You know what I thought was illustrious? When Never Nervous Pervis Ellison whipped that Duke team in the national championship game. By the way, that Duke team advanced to the Final Four by beating a 16 seed, an 8 seed, a 12 seed and a 7 seed. Or, as it is more often known, "the typical Duke bracket."

<<She felt the agony of defeat with a heartbreaking, last-minute three-point loss to Louisville in the NCAA Tournament.>>

*Watches video*

*Checks for agony*

Nope, none here.

<<She raised her kids well. >>

And taught them to be humble.

<<Even in the (embarrassingly long) time of my life when I couldn’t care less about sports, I still knew Duke was king. We lived and breathed basketball from the first day of the season to the last. >>

Sometimes, the last day of the season came against Lehigh.


<<There was no hope of sleeping through the hell raised in our living room during games>>

Wait a second. Coach K and Chris Collins watched games in your living room? I'd like to hear more about that.

<<God help anyone who walked in our house during the month of March.>>

Or they would fear the wrath of CHEROKEE PARKS, ERIC MEEK AND MARTY CLARK!!!

<<Verbal altercations with the deluge of indoctrinated Tar Hole fans at school were frequent and ruthless.>>

However, they were powerless against the rapier wit of someone who considers "Tar Hole" a vicious takedown.

<<Jesus came first in our family, but Coach K was a close second.>>

There's no way it said that. Let's check.

<<Jesus came first in our family, but Coach K was a close second.>>

I have no words.

<<Despite all this, when college decision time came, I happened to end up at that school eight miles down the road. >>

SPOILER: That school is Carolina!

<< I know, it’s terrible, but Duke doesn’t have my major and academics come before athletics. >>

Well, now I'm confused about this. Because according to the UNC directory, the writer's majors are music and political science (that's two separate majors--doing them together would be weird). And according to this list of Duke majors, Duke offers both of them. Perplexing.

<<I was born a Blue Devil and I’ll be a Blue Devil to the last, “Tar Heel dead” be damned. >>

There are pills for that.

<< Seeing those powder-blue argyle-wearing ninnies take the court makes my blood boil.>>

This sentence was actually written in the year 1958.

<<If I see one more person write the word “d00k” and delude themselves into thinking it’s actually funny or clever, I’ll explode. >>

However, "Tar Hole" remains hilarious.

<<I have never felt a more vindictive joy in my life than standing in a crowd of Carolina fans watching the beating Duke gave their team back in February.>>

I'll bet they enjoyed being around you, too. But that was indeed a vicious five-point whipping, a beating the likes of which no one in the ACC has seen this year.

<<My friends here have learned to accept me in spite of it all, but I still get a steady stream of grief for it. >>

After the publication of the Chronicle story, you can probably delete "steady stream" and replace with "hurricane."

<<Oh well, I’ve learned to let it slide. Tar Hole fans always have been and always will be a dime a dozen next to the True Blues.>>

I don't know what the True Blues are. Are they the ones who line up for the chance to be on TV at a basketball game and then can't give you directions to Wallace Wade Stadium?

<<I just wanted y’all to know that you still have a Daniel in the midst of the lion’s den, a proud Blue Devil living smack in the middle of Tar Heel country. >>

Bad news: no one over there knows what "y'all" means.

<<Saturday evening’s gonna be rough.>>

Just guessing: Friday may be a little more rough.

<<The team is getting better. They’re mad as hell. So are the students, and they’re gearing up big time. >>

The team is mad as hell? They didn't mention that yesterday when I was talking to them. And at least the students haven't geared up to the point that they're printing cheer sheets, because that would be...whoops, never mind.

<<The Dean Dome will be loud, energized and doing their best to make this potentially the most difficult away game all season. >>

Also, given Duke's typical schedule, it may be the only away game all season.

<<And I want you to take it out of them. I want you to beat them, so, so badly. >>

Reminder: this is written by a member of the UNC band.

<<I may be wearing Carolina blue and playing in the band section, but the little Duke blue fire is still burning in my heart. >>

Is "little Duke blue fire" a code name for Coach Wojo?

<<And it would experience no better vindication than seeing a healthy Ryan Kelly (praise be unto him) and the rest of the boys beating the ever-loving Tar out of the Heels, so to speak.>>

So to speak. Because it's a metaphor, you see. 

<<Duke is still king in my book, and y’all have my best wishes. Go to hell Carolina, and rip ‘em up, tear ‘em up, give ‘em hell Duke!>>

I need to purge.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: The writer of the original story has apologized and says he won't be at the game on Saturday.

Follow Adam on Twitter.


  1. Theo Wu's avatar
    Theo Wu
    | Permalink
    What's up with supposed Carolina individuals? First Philip from SC calling to fire ole Roy (glad to see that we followed his advice because Carolina's winning...wait a minute, but with Coach Williams...inconceivable!) and now this guy (just read he's not going to be at the game...probably more for his own safety).
  2. Ash's avatar
    | Permalink
    Thanks once again Adam!
  3. CltNC830's avatar
    | Permalink
    "...according to the UNC directory, the writer's majors are music and political science...according to this list of Duke majors, Duke offers both of them. Perplexing."
    I think what you, Adam, and Mr. Hanner are saying, is that he couldn't get in to dook.
  4. Stacey M's avatar
    Stacey M
    | Permalink
    Given that the band is a spirit minded representation of UNC itself, I think that this young man needs to find a different outlet for his talents. This is a kin to a tour guide telling prospective students that they are really DOOK fans. Although the admission committee found reason to accept him, I do not believe as an alumni of UNC that he should be part of the pep band during basketball season. The Carolina Way is not hypocritical.
  5. erm's avatar
    | Permalink
    As an alumna of the Marching Tar Heels, I do not understand this student at all. I could see him coming to UNC...yes, even with Duke offering his majors. Perhaps, to give him the slightest benefit of a doubt in terms of the world of academia, his "focus" with political science was only offered at UNC, or UNC offered some form of symphonic/jazz band that Duke did not offer.

    However, what I do not understand is the reasoning behind this student joining the Marching Tar Heels. The *point* of the Marching Tar Heels is to support the Carolina Tar Heels athletic teams. Period. If we did not have a football team...we would only have a pep band. If we did not have athletics...we would not exist. Additionally, one of the most important parts of being in band (in addition to knowing your music and drill, if applicable) was cheering on the Tar Heels at UNC sporting events. We weren't cheerleaders, but we DEFINITELY were the leaders of cheers.

    So how could a Duke fan come to UNC and be in a group who's sole existence is to cheer on UNC? I know that if I had gone to Duke, the Duke pep band would have been the LAST group I would have joined, even though I love marching band!

    Basically, I just don't get it.
  6. Kate's avatar
    | Permalink
    "After the publication of the Chronicle story, you can probably delete 'steady stream' and replace with 'hurricane.'"

    Like that little thing that happened on January 23? I see what you did there, Adam.

  7. Chad's avatar
    | Permalink
    I think this is a piece of satire blown way out of proportion.

    My dad is a diehard Pack fan - has been ever since he was a little boy - and he roots for them regardless of who they're playing. During his time at UNC he'd join my mom on the Pack side of the stadium decked out in red. However, this allegiance doesn't nullify the pride and enthusiasm he feels when he talks about his time spent in Chapel Hill or points out the UNC degree hanging in his office. You'll never catch him rooting for Carolina when March Madness comes around, but you'll also never catch him saying anything but good about the school where he earned his degree.

    In that same vein, I believe Mr Hanner is capable of taking pride in his time spent at UNC and pulling for the team his family holds dear. His article was a comedic take on a common dichotomy and nothing more.

Leave a Comment