Duke/Carolina — The Worried (simple) mind


That time already.

Worry time.

Lose-sleep time.

Stare-at-the-ceiling time.

But it’s different.

Way different.

Well, the same, but different.

Same in that you’ll lose sleep again.

Same in that the Dukies always worry you to death.

Different in that the Heels are supposed to win.

Especially at home.

Especially after what they did in Cameron.

So that makes you worry more.

Stupid game.

But a great game.

Face it, you like how this feels. 

At least after it’s over.

After a win, anyway.

Then it’s a good memory.

A worthwhile memory.

Like when they came back from nine down in the last 3 minutes.

Good memory there.

But there can be bad ones, too.

Like when Dahntay went coast-to-coast.

In your building.

And beat you.

Well, beat Carolina.

You were just the guy polishing off the six-pack and chicken.

But you wore the jersey didn’t you?

And you were the one who didn’t sleep the night before, like always.

Who let his mind wander during the sermon.

Who didn’t hear his wife tell him to take out the trash.

Who helped his daughter get her homework done in record time.

Who won’t sit during the game, only pace.

Because it worked the last time.

Ah, the last time.

Last two times, actually.

And then it hits you again.


They’re supposed to win.

Hasn’t always been like that.

Not that long ago, the Dukies were dominating the series.

Now the Heels are.

And that’s great.

Wonderful, in fact.

For you, anyway.

But you know.

Deep down, you know.

It’s a good place to be the favored team.

Most of the time.

But it’s a treacherous line.

Win, and it’s awesome. 

But expected.

Lose, and it’s hell.

Of course, it’s always hell to lose to them.

But it hurts more when your team is supposed to take care of things.

Lose as an underdog, and while it stings, you can shrug it off easier.

Sure, you won’t watch SportsCenter for a couple of days, but it’ll wear off.

Cause a win wasn’t supposed to happen anyway.

So you can move on.

But this is different.

And then there’s that other thing.

The one they hang banners for.

Oh yeah, they’ve clinched a tie.

Had to work for it though.

Remember those first two ACC losses?

Remember Greivis?

Of course you do.

Which is why you stare at that same old ceiling.


Because you know the drill.

You know the template.

How to win, sure.

Worse, how to lose.

Good shooters can kill Carolina.

And Duke has shooters.

Lot’s of ’em.

And a new lineup.

That Williams kid.

And they’re better for it.

Much better.

But Lawson should hurt Duke.

But Lawson hurt his toe.

Big toe.

Which is a bigger injury than people realize.

Left practice with a crutch.

Team is “hopeful” he will play.

And so are you.

The one who isn’t sleeping.

The one who can’t shake that nervous feeling.

Who knows his Duke friends will let him have it.

Who can’t stand the thought of sharing the ACC with them.

Who can’t wait for the ball to be tipped.

Who can’t wait for it all to just be over.

Who needs a resolution because he can’t think in anything but fragmented sentences…


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Filed under ACC, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Final Four, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina Tar Heels, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels

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