College basketball is a pretty big deal in North Carolina. This year alone, there are 5 North Carolina teams playing in the NCAA tournament. When my husband moved from Maine to North Carolina circa 2001, he said he was frequently asked 2 questions.
1-Who is your favorite Nascar Driver?
2-Do you cheer for Duke or Carolina?
I know nothing about Nascar so I can't help you there, but I would like to offer up a 3rd alternative to the Duke/UNC questions? About 87% ***of the people in my state are either HUGE UNC fans or HUGE DUKE fans. I would like to throw out a third option. The NC STATE WOLFPACK. I mean I did go there and all.
Disclaimer-I am not the biggest sports fan in the world. But every year I get pretty excited by the ACC tournament, especially when I get to go. (It's in my hometown, Greensboro, a lot. This year it was in Atlanta though.). I even know the name of the new NC State coach and several of the players on the team (at least 2 of them are named CJ). And this year I watched and attended a few games before the ACC tournament even started.
So here's my take on why it's better to be an NC State fan and to just stay away from that crazy intense Duke/UNC rivalry.
1-COLORS and FASHION-Red is a better color than any shade of blue. Sidney Lowe's bright red blazer was way better than that weird plaid thing that Roy Williams wore this past week (ok maybe not but I still stand by red being better than blue).
2-MASCOTS-In the words of my friend, Shannon (a slightly more knowledgeable fan than me and fellow NC State alumna)....."Our mascot is a wolf…. Other mascots around here include a ram (come on, get real) and a blue devil- a BLUE devil? That’s just silly. Wolves are way better". And there's Tuffy.
3-UNDERDOGS/HISTORY-It's way more awesome when an 11 seed team beats a 6 seed team than when a 1 or 2 seed teams wins. Plus NC State has one of the best Cinderella Stories ever. I mean yes, I was 2 when this happened but I've definitely heard about it and seen videos.
4-TOURNAMENTS-It's easier to get ACC tournament tickets for Wolfpack games. I used to work for a company that would have a lottery every year for ACC tournaments tickets. Guess who always won the NC State tix? I did, because everyone else put their name in for Duke or Carolina games. As far as the NCAA tournament goes, it's always exciting when NC State makes it (no matter what seed they are).
5-BARS AND SOCIALIZING-There was a 3 hour wait at a local sports bar on the night of the most recent UNC/Duke match up (and a lot of yelling). On the other hand, we had prime seating, no waiting, at our trivia bar on the night of the UNC/NC State game.
6-THE WOLF FINGER FREE THROW THING-We can make a cool tiny finger version of a wolf with our fingers when NC State is throwing free throws. I'm pretty sure you cannot make a ram or a devil or really anything else out of your fingers.
Earlier this year my friend's parents gave my husband and me tickets to the UNC/NC State game at UNC. It was a little tough being one of 20ish people in the Dean Dome wearing an NC State t-shirt (vintage 1999, purchased at the NC State bookstore). And even though we lost by like 20 points and I was repeatedly taunted by the usher, I had a good time. Plus we made that really cool full court shot right before half time (that silenced the usher for at least 3 minutes).
In conclusion, I will be watching NC State take on Kansas this week. Go Pack. And if the other North Carolina teams (including a couple that are playing right down the road from me) happen to win their games, then good for them too.
Do you like Duke or UNC or NC State or even Wake Forest or UNCG or Elon or Davidson or UNC-Asheville or UNC Charlotte?
But more importantly, who is your favorite Nascar driver?
***Scientific data based on my facebook feed, my dad blatantly cheering for UNC over NC State right in front of me during the recent UNC/NCSU ACC game, and Work Place/Bar Observations.