I know the full-scale dedication to a sports team seems onerous to many of you reading this blog; indeed, my Iowa youth was filled with Vikings fans (distended-bellied swine with cheeto flakes in their moustaches, polishing off cans of Schlitz while screaming at their Zenith TV sets) who made me queasy at the whole notion.
And I probably would have gone on with my life with very thinly-tethered sports affiliations, rooting for the underdog in every game as I still do in those late-night hoops games from the West Coast. But I never thought I’d go to school where Dean Smith was coaching, and within thirty seconds of my arrival in Chapel Hill, I suddenly understood why people hung their school hats on the irrational hook of school pride. In short, Dean Smith, and everything he is, represents the kind of patriarch I want to be in my own family, should I be lucky enough to have one.
In my junior year at Carolina, I was blessed to serve with the finest staff ever to grace the pages of the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Silly name, yes, but this is a paper that produced Charles Kuralt, Ed Yoder, Jeff MacNelly and a host of famous journalists. In my day, we had the Dream Team of Jean Lutes, Laura Pearlman, and Matt Bivens in the editorial office, making my job as columnist a total dream. Writing for the paper with Pete Corson and Greg Humphreys as cartoonists was almost unfair.
I had an incredible run for those years, avenging almost all of my childhood trauma and getting to have sex with a variety of sorority girls from towns like Blowing Rock, NC. Two of my columns managed to make that magic leap to the refrigerators and dorm doors about town: one was about buying condoms at the Rite-Aid, and another about why I hate fuckin’ Dook so much. The latter got me in good with the Sports Information people back then, and serves as a reminder that one should always “go with what you know” for me, loathing Duke University is like shooting fish in a barrel. When I turned in the first draft, I was worried that the editorial staff