Why I Don’t Hate Carolina

I am a State fan. There is a plausible sincerity to these words, an earnestness that rings poetic.

To mention these words is to seemingly reveal your character, the very essence of your soul. It is shameless and self-affirming, an unabashed sense of pride about whom you are, even somewhat arrogant, while devoid of elitism. To state these words is to affirm that your loyalty is absolute and unwavering; you have laid claim to a title that commands respect because you are genuine – a flailing sense of dedication is not tolerated. There is a subtle swagger in the way you say it, a bluster that only another State fan can ever entirely comprehend.

And still yet, as a State fan, you are not exactly teeming with bliss, but rather a desperate longing for satisfaction, appeasement. There exists within you an undeniable complexity, a dichotomy to your nature, common among the State culture.You are patient and forgiving and generally loyal to a fault, but you are marked by a looming forlornness of unfulfilled expectations and dashed hopes. Yet somehow you are decidedly resilient, having borne the stigma of the 90s and shunned any accompanying shame.

And of course, you hate Carolina. Right? It’s a black and white issue. It is inherent: You cannot be a true State fan and have even the slightest inkling of any tolerance for the team O’er the Hill. That is undeniable, scientific fact.

(I’d like to state right now for the record, before I go any further, that I think Emily Crawford is the Greatest Person Ever and in no way do my ensuing statements indicate anything less than total admiration and respect for her, as a proud alum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)

I hate Carolina. There’s a solemn sincerity in these words as well, although they are not quite as poetic. I hate them with such a fiery passion that while I’ll leave at halftime of a blowout game against Eastern Kentucky, I’ll be stricken with delightful giddiness for every last second of a blowout against Carolina. I so despise losing to them, that when we do, it ruins my week and takes days off my life. My vengefulness is so deep that I like to see them lose as much as I like to see State win.

But do I even know why I hate them so much?

I don’t hate Carolina because they’re perpetual media darlings or because everyone gushes over their storied and hallowed tradition or because they have a legendary coach that unified them for decades or because they have won five (still counting) national championships and countless ACC titles.

I don’t hate the Well or the Bell or the magnificent beauty of picturesque Kenan Stadium.

I don’t despise the fact that even when we are better than them they usually beat us or that Ishua Benjamin always seems to get bumped out of bounds with less than a minute to play leading to a puzzling jump ball call or that there’s always a Jim Knight around to take points off the scoreboard at a crucial moment.

I don’t deplore them for hanging the jersey of anyone who ever plopped his sweaty ass on the bench in the rafters and I could care less if they have a storied rivalry with Duke and act indifferent towards State.

I don’t hate their pseudo-elitist personas and I don’t hate the media-bias in favor of them from Manteo to Murphy.

I don’t hate that anywhere I’ve ever been I could find a Carolina hat or that people that move to North Carolina always cheer for them because of “how good they are.”

I don’t despise the fact that I cringe whenever someone says “Tar Heel State” and that when I’m governor I’ll have to pretend I’m excited that they won a championship when they visit the mansion.

I don’t hate that Carolina fans have no idea what it’s like to endure true frustration because after two years of mediocrity they solve the problem.

I don’t hate them because we’ll never be close to where they are in basketball and will never consistently dominate them in football.

I don’t hate Carolina for any of the aforementioned trivial reasons.

Wait, yes I do.

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