Becky Says...

February 2007

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Of a Rivalry - February 4

Yesterday there was a basketball game between rivals UNC-Chapel Hill (Carolina) and NC State University (which is also part of the UNC System). I don't usually watch Carolina's games, because it seems that whenever I do watch, they lose. So this time I quite deliberately watched. And they lost. And I'm pleased about that.

Yeah, I know it's weird and if I weren't already a life member of the alumni association I might lose my right to call myself a Tar Heel. But there was a reason.

See, State hired a new basketball coach at the end of last season, Sidney Lowe. Though he had played college ball at State, he hadn't gone into college coaching at the end of his professional playing career (he'd coached pro level), so the emotions around his hiring were divided between those who thought it was a wonderful thing to have him back and those who thought he'd bomb out badly.

And as we all know, the almighty dollar of fans rules coach hiring and firing decisions. I'm still pissed over what happened with Carolina's John Bunting last fall.

State and Sidney really, really needed the win. Their season is going okay, but this would be a big hairy deal in fan eyes, and might shut off some of the continuing undercurrent of objection to his hiring. Carolina's Roy Williams would no doubt have liked to win, but he and the team didn't need the win in anything like the same way.

And somewhere along the way, it became apparent to all watching the game that the State players hadn't gotten the message that they couldn't possibly win against Carolina. Just as well, since they could and did win the game.

I've said for a long time that I don't have much truck with the rivalries between the Big Four schools (Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and NC State) in 'North Carolina, because I have some connection to all four of them. I meant it. And I'll tell you a secret: it took me being a Carolina student about ten minutes before I found out how much those schools cooperate.

Of course, most of the time I really do want Carolina to do well in basketball, which is the only sport to which I pay much (and admittedly not very much) attention. But just this once, I was pleased that they lost.

Text © copyright 2000-2007 Becky