Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m simply a much better human being than the average slack-jawed, goggle-eyed, spittle-spewing schlub that follows sports. I prefer to think I’m not alone in being able to cheer unabashedly for the “them” when “them” are supposedly hated rivals. Whatever. I was cheering for Kindly David Cutcliffe and his Wally Warriors last Saturday.
I’m charged with “writing something provocative” here each week. Admitting on Chapelboro that I was pulling for Duke probably exceeds “provocative” and gets dangerously close to sacrilegious.
When I was born, one of my first baby gifts was a handmade Carolina blue sweater with the number “22” knitted in it. “22” was Choo Choo’s hallowed number. I still have that little sweater. I am indeed “Tar Heel Born.”
Before I cheered Coach Cut’s Wally Warriors late Saturday afternoon, I was screaming HOLY COW at my HD flat-screen as UNC’s newest Super Hero – Ryan Switzer – scampered across Heinz Field A SECOND TIME. Yes, I actually screamed HOLY COW!!!
As The Fighting Fedorians escaped Heinz with a nail-biter, I proposed to Bubba that he ought to hang Switzer’s #3 in “the rafters” of Kenan if, of course, Kenan had rafters. It’s probably a tad premature to declare Ryan Switzer “a legend” or write a catchy song about him like they did with Choo Choo. But maybe not.
So anyhow… back to me cheering for Kindly Coach Dave’s Wally Warriors. I am solidly on record that I count among my friends more than a few Dookies as well as quite a few Wuffies and even a goodly number of Deacons and Purple Pirates. One cannot grow up in Eastern North Carolina and not accumulate Pirate friends.
My Good Sports compadre Br’er Chansky chides me for my admitted willingness to cross-pollinate fan bases, but I’ve never had a problem with it. And, among my gaggle of Duke buddies, there’s not ONE who is Jewish OR “from New Jersey.” And none of my Wuffie friends dip Skoal either. So much for negative stereotypes.
Heck, I even know a goodly number of “right-wing Tea Party-loving” Tar Heels. Whoa… now I AM getting sacrilegious.
Now Duke faces a dilemma as regards its football future. When your program is simply AWFUL and the poster program for woeful, you get to be everybody’s Homecoming opponent. Even your own loyal fans, all dozen or so of them, measure “success” as “well, not too many of our kids got carried off on stretchers today.” Ouch. To say Expectations are not exactly Dickensian “Great” is an understatement.
But now Kindly Coach Cut has gone and won six, and now eight and counting. Good Lord, Dave… you skipped right over four and five. Duke isn’t satisfied with “any bowl” any more. Now it has to be “a real bowl” in a city where Ruby Tuesday’s is not “fine dining.” So much for Shreveport.
To go from woeful to double-digit Ws is an awesome leap. Duke will likely settle into the middle muddle of the ACC with the equivalent of the gentlemanly “C,” which is 6-7 wins per year. Capable of beating anyone on a given Saturday, but not doing so all that often.
Don’t send a hit man to “take me out” yet. Come next Saturday (the 30th) I will be wearing that same familiar light shade of blue as my little baby Choo Choo sweater. Not the royal shade.
I believe college football at its best is about “rivalries.” Duke Football being “competitive” and maybe even “pretty darn good” just makes getting that bell back all the sweeter.
More BobLee at www.bobleesays.com