You might not get the “March Madness” theme unless you are from or live in NC. We are the basketball rivalry capitol of the world.
DUKE. CAROLINA. STATE. WAKE.
If you live in NC, following a basketball team is a requirement just as much as paying your taxes. Most of us NCers base our allegiance not on which team or coach is the best, but by our personal connections to the big four colleges. Obviously, if you attended Carolina, then you’re a
Tarhell (oops, I meant Tarheel), and if you attended Wake Forest you’re a Geekon (oops again, I meant Deacon). If you didn’t go to one of the big four, then the connection transfers to your children or grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or next-door neighbors. At any rate, you absolutely have to fly one of the big four flags. Every year come March, our personal allegiances make NC a place where nothing takes precedence over basketball.
What happens if your team wins the ACC championship? You instantly grow at least a foot taller. You become better looking, too. You wear your championship tee-shirt for at least a week and you get a bigger bumpersticker.
What happens if your team does not win the ACC championship? You turn off Fox Sports South & ESPN immediately. You shrink. You go into hiding. You get indignant about the ACC’s officiating. (It isn’t a happy picture.)
My house is a divided one: One daughter is a Carolina grad. The other is a Duke grad. That in itself is madness for a mother.
And the thing is, I just like basketball in general; but factor in my split allegiance and March becomes insufferable. But this weekend, it’s going to be all over for at least one of my two children. Carolina plays VA Tech this afternoon, and Duke goes up against Clemson. It is very possible that tomorrow the last game will be the Tarheels against the Blue Devils.
Lord, have mercy.
Over the last ten years, I’ve learned to hide my own madness which makes the madness even more maddening. Unless I watch a Duke-UNC game in private, I try not to show my true colors because it can be dangerous. My sister is a season-ticket-holder Tarheel and she could easily beat me up should I dare to even look toward Durham. And then there’s that March madness thing between the two most important people in my life. What’s a sister and mother to do except keep her mouth shut, stay out of the way, and ride it out to the end?
It’s good that the last game of the ACC tournament is right after church on Sunday. It’s good because we will have just walked through the church doors with a prayerful heart. And God knows, some of us need prayers to get through the valley of March madness in one piece.