Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Duke falls from #1, America exhales

Tonight in Winston-Salem NC, #4 Wake Forrest survived, despite blowing a 8pt lead at home with 4:07 left, to beat #1 Duke on a layup with under a second left.

Until a loss to Virgina Tech last week, the team's only loss of the season, WF had held the #1 spot, but this didn't stop the students from rushing the court, of course.

Wake had been in control for seemingly the entire second half, building up a lead of 13 at one point, while shutting down the three-point game, always a Duke staple, to the tune of 18.2%, along with inside shooting of under 41%. Aside from a slight rebounding edge, everything was tilted in WF's favor, including home-court advantage.

And yet the Blue Devils Duke'd their way back into the game, nearly pulling out a big come-from-behind road win in-conference on national television, which wouldn't have shocked anyone.

This is why most of us hate this team.

Now, in this country there's a longstanding tradition of shifting from indifferent to hateful of a team that's very successful, regardless of the sport. The Yankees, USC, the Cowboys, and the Lakers are good examples of this.

But Duke is on another level in this regard. The Blue Devils are far more hated than NCAA basketball legacies such as UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, and UConn, despite not being notably better over the last 25 years.

You'll notice a common thread among the other schools I've listed. They're all public universities. This plays into the other side of the Duke mystique that sparks national hatred: Privilege.

It's easy to hate people we perceive getting things handed to them. We see Duke University, on their quaint little southern campus, playing in a quaint little gymnasium filled with rich scrawny white boy students who, despite going to an expensive private school with a top academic reputation, have the time to camp out for tickets to a basketball game for weeks at a time.

We see a coach with an impossible name to spell, managing to bring in the only good white players in the country, working the referees into handing him half a dozen iffy charge calls a game.

We see a team that always sees the preseason top 10, despite actual team talent, and seems to regularly pull out outrageous comebacks despite awful play, like almost occurred tonight.

We see the most annoying sportscaster in the game salivating over every second he gets to talk about the team, to the point where they made him do an NBA game this year to get him away from it.

It's easy to hate this team, it's fun to hate this team, and I, along with most of the country, will continue to hate this team until they go the way of Notre Dame football and it's just no fun anymore.


Anonymous said...

Cry about it. We love that you hate us because we don't want to become irrelevant like many of the other "great" programs you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

"We see a coach with an impossible name to spell..."

I am confused here - do you hate white people or foreigners?