As I crawled out of bed to get to class one morning and took a look out the window I came to the unfortunate realization that it was raining. Yes, I know, disappointing considering that thanks to our good friends at Hummer we've been having summer in January, but alas it was raining. So, as I was heading out the door, I grabbed my umbrella reflexively, no big deal.
Like usual I was late so I began powerwalking to class. As I do so, however, I noticed something a little different about the way people were looking at me today. I was like someone scribbled something offensive on my cheeks in sharpie last night since it was not the usual "Alex is a freak of nature glance" I'm used to. Instead it was about 85% shock, 14% disgust with a dash of disdain. The problem, I soon realized was that while the color of my umbrella would not turn a single head at my "home", it had the exact opposite effect at my " 'home.' "
On another occasion, I was heading to the gym and was looking for some appropriate attire. I saw a Carolina National Champions 2005 shirt out of the corner of my eye. I decided it was a good day to be an antagonist, so why not. The reaction was much the same as with the umbrella. No outright comments. No "mistaken" dropping of weights. Not even a playful "are you lost?" followed by a right jab. Instead it was more surprise and glares that clearly communicated "are you lost?!"
If you think a Duke gym would be a bad place to wear such a t-shirt, Katie, Hudson and I decided to push the envelope by wearing out Carolina Blue to the Duke-UNC (Womens) basketball game. It was an amazing game not only because our Tar Heels were victorious but because we survived. We had a few instances with thrown pom-poms and in Hudson's case a wig but, no one lost an eye or anything of the sort.
I'm not quite sure why I did it, but a couple days later I decided to see how Benedict Arnold felt. That is, I wore my one and only Duke Basketball shirt to the place that I call "home". Not surprisingly I got many of the same reactions I got in Chapel Hill, surprise and definitely a good amount of disdain and disgust. The only difference there was that when I ran into several friends who pretty much disowned me and one, if I recall correctly, tried to stab me with a knife.
But, what is this rivalry? People talk about "hate". Both Schools are liberal in their condemnation of the other to hell. But I think if they truly hated each other, I would have gotten jumped, run over, tripped or at least "accidentally" stabbed. So yes, people are surprised and confused to see the opposite colors. And yes, they have a conditioned, knee jerk aversion to them. Yet, beneath the shock and facade of hate that is put up I see something more shining through. For this, I yield to the wise words of poet/philosopher/actor Vince Vaughn. In Anchorman he explained this rivalry pretty well:
"Deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you! But, goddamn it, do I respect you!"
As always, Mr. Vaughn, wise, wise words.