Tonight is Duke-Carolina. If I wrote 5,000 words, I couldn’t explain to you how much this rivalry means to me, or the millions of others who anxiously await the first meeting of the year like a 9-year-old pines for Christmas.
It is the greatest rivalry in sports. You can have Yankees-Red Sox, or Ohio State-Michigan, or Cowboys-Redskins, or any other historically great matchup you want to throw it out there. But the two basketball games a year that Duke and Carolina play (if we’re extraordinarily lucky, they play three times, with one matchup in the ACC Tournament), is the greatest, most intense spectacle in sports. Two incredible programs, eight miles apart, whose fans despise each other with the white hot flame of hatred.
This rivalry is about Art Heyman vs. Larry Brown. About Phil Ford and Gene Banks, about Christian Laettner and Donald Williams. About Eric Montross’ bloody face and Jeff Capel’s 40-foot heave, and Matt Doherty and Andre Buckner pushing and shoving … OK, enough.
I was extremely fortunate to get to cover four of these games when I worked in North Carolina, and each one is permanently embedded in my mind’s eye. I remember I was so excited to be covering my first Duke-Carolina game, that I showed up at 10 a.m. for a 3 p.m. tip-off.
I walked into the media room and completely startled the Duke sports information director, Mike Cragg. “Oh, how’re you doing?” he said, as he was still passing out the pregame media notes packets.
“Just wanted to get here extra early, walk around a little,” I replied. “It’s my first one of these.”
He smiled and nodded, because he knew. He knew there was nothing else like it.
I’m especially psyched for this one. Carolina has owned Duke lately, winning six of the last seven. That is absolutely and totally unacceptable. It turns around tonight.
9 p.m. ESPN. Duke-Carolina, for 228th time. Doesn’t get better.
**OK, here’s another reason why writing a fake “sarcastic’ letter is never a good idea.
Seems an elementary school principal in Litchfield, Ariz. was making a joke and wrote a letter to his students’ parents that he never in a million years intended to actually send.
The letter from principal Ron Sterr read, in part, “The math we do is really easy. “If your child is either too lazy or too stupid to finish it in class, I’m sending it home so that you can work with them and judge for yourself whether it is laziness or idiocy that inhibits your child’s progress.”
Fabulous. I always love a guy who gives parents options. Let’s see, is my kid just stupid, or really lazy? And hey, I hope he put choice C on there, for “all of the above.”
Apparently a teacher mistakenly sent it home. Mr. Sterr will not be returning as principal, and may be fired altogether.
Instead, I see a great career for him as a motivational speaker. Read his new best-selling tome, “You’re Ugly, and your mother dresses you funny, too!”