knock it down, michael


Yes, this is going to be college basketball-related, but bear with me, because it’s relevant to a lot of other experiences we’re having right now.

Some buddies of mine on a UNC email listserv were asking why the Carolina @ Wake Forest game seemed so… unimportant. Accounts of the game (we won, 68-53) called it “ugly”, “sluggish”, “painful” and “a slog”. Another friend called it “the quietest ACC game involving Carolina I’ve ever seen.”

Ironically, this it was the first game Lucy watched with me from start to finish, memorizing everyone’s name and jersey number, and paying very close attention to the referees. I realized that I hadn’t actually looked at a ref during a game in about 15 years.

There are several reasons why this game was vaguely blah: Wake isn’t very good, it was an “away” game (which is always a drag), and it was the second game in three days (which is rare). But I, too, felt the odd pang of “why am I not as ravenous?”

The guys on the listserv thought it might have something to do with either our age, or the fact that technology has made gameviewing a home experience. Further, it could be that sports in general are holding less sway to a young populace glued to their various screens, and believe me, just writing that sentence made me feel complicit.

But I think it’s something else – you can’t hold on to your irrational passions if you’re experiencing them almost totally by yourself. Tribalism of sport must be ingested in a group setting, or else you start to feel adrift. The reason the Wake Forest game seemed so pointless was because we – all 700 or so of my Carolina Facebook friends and email correspondents – were watching this game ALONE.


Not all of us, of course, since my daughter and my wife made the game awesome for me, but you can’t go on like this forever. It’s why I drive, train or fly to Chapel Hill every year for the Dook game NO MATTER WHAT. This will be my 27th year in a row, since I was a li’l wide-eyed 18-year-old.

It’s why you should buy Duke Sucks: A Completely Evenhanded, Unbiased Investigation into the Most Evil Team on Planet Earth, now available from Amazon (or wherever fine books are sold) with a foreword by yours goddamn truly. It’s why you should download this week’s Tar Heel Bred, Tar Heel Dead podcast, featuring the authors Andy Bagwell and Reed Tucker AND YOURS GODDAMN TRULY.

They say Dook can’t even fill their arena with students – that isn’t good news, that’s miserable. I want them to be GOOD and I want to BEAT THEM WHILE THEY’RE GOOD. Like I said, every religion needs its Devil, and ours is Blue.

Let’s arrest this slide into torpor! Don’t let your irrational loves slip into something you used to care about! I have half a mind to call my old roommates Jon, Chip and Bud and force them to Google Hangout with me for the next game. Fuck getting old and scattered and smothered and covered! I DEMAND A REMATCH!

0 thoughts on “knock it down, michael

  1. block

    i like watching Carolina games at a certain farm, in a certain corner, of a certain state, in a certain room, of a certain farmhouse, with extremely certain people. there. i said it.

  2. Megan

    I usually check out new books I want to read from the Duke Library. I think I’m going to have to get this one through Interlibrary Loan!

  3. emma

    Did anyone notice that at the BC v. State game last night, there were about 12 BC students in the basketball gym and maybe 50 fans? I have never seen such low attendance at an ACC b-ball game – at least that is how it looked on the tv.
    It is so much more fun to watch a UNC game with friends, but I still love to watch a UNC game at home. Another atlernative for a Sat afternoon or Sun afternoon game is to watch it while on the treadmill. While running, I will start to tell myself if I run faster, the boys in blue will play harder. There are no distractions when I watch a game on the treadmill – and the time flies by – I don’t even realize that I have gone for a run!

  4. Mark Mays

    Nah. My family serves to reign me in. They stop my Banner-to-Hulk transformation whenever our lads (be it football or basketball) are in dire straits. That happens, even now, alone or not.


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