Go Tar Heels

Posted on | November 28, 2012 | 8 Comments

My ex was not a sports fan.  He went to an undergrad without a really strong sports team, but I really don’t think it would have mattered either way… he just wasn’t into sports.

I, on the other hand, am a total fanatic.  Growing up in North Carolina made me a basketball fan from the moment I could say the word.  As kids, we would sit with my father and mother on the oddly brownish floral sofa at the base of our split-level house and cheer on the ACC like it was our job.  My parents were both Duke fans, so naturally my sister and I became Carolina fans.  Although he may now insist otherwise, Wolfpack fan that he is, our pseudo-brother/next door neighbor was also a Carolina fan.  We would cheer for “our” team like crazy but mostly we pulled for the ACC, our ties being to the conference, not just the chosen university.  I remember watching Jim Valvano run around the court, desperate for a hug from anyone on his team when his Wolfpack won the national championship in 1983.  I remember watching Michael Jordan wearing Carolina blue.  I remember getting older and switching my allegiance from the UNC Tar Heels over to the UVA Cavaliers because I wanted so desperately to attend the University of Virginia. I cried when I got waitlisted.  I cried when I received my acceptance letter to UNC, throwing it away without opening it because that’s how little I wanted to attend.

And then I set up shop at Hinton James Dorm, just across from the Dean Smith Center for the last year of Dean Smith’s coaching career.  And I full on attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill… warts and all… with Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ademola Okulaja, Serge Zwikker, Ed Cota, Vas Evtimov, Terence Newby, Mike Brooker,  and a host of hilarious and talented boys who made being a Tar Heel basketball fan something seriously amazing.  They were right there, a part of my freshman experience, signing a ball for my brother, meeting up for ice cream after games, paired up with me or my friends on class projects… turning me into more than just a student but a fan: a real fan.  Suddenly, everything in my world flipped from orange back to blue and not that dark, dirty blue… no. This was the pristine sweetness of a Carolina blue sky… cloudless and full of wonder.  Loving a sports team is like loving a family pet… it drives you crazy and sometimes you just want to drop it off at the pound, but ultimately you know it’s yours and you love it straight through the losses… even the ugly ones.

My ex, J’s father, had no real allegiance to a team so I don’t feel any obligation to split J into halves on something so important (sarcasm… sort of intended).  If he were a fan, I’d feel like I should at least buy a hat or encourage a little cheering for whatever team my ex supported.  But luckily, the only team my ex really ever supported was mine… the Tar Heels… based solely on my crazed fanness that includes tossing shoes, screaming obscenities, and enforcing assigned seats during close games.  What can I say? I’m a Tar Heel… through and through… and I happily taught my child to sing the Alma Mater before he even learned his ABC’s. Even before he’s learned to tie his shoes or dribble a basketball, he will tell you that he is going to play for the Tar Heels when he gets big.   Last night, he stumbled out of bed around 8:30 and into the living room where I was watching the NC State Wolfpack play a game.

“I want to watch basketball with you!” He announced, climbing up into my lap and laying his head back against my chest.  I wrapped one arm around him to steady him on my lap and we settled in to watch the remaining minutes before halftime.

“GO TAR HEELS!” He pumped a fist high in the air and I smiled.

“Buddy, Carolina isn’t playing in this game.  This is the Wolfpack playing, so we say ‘Go Wolfpack’.”

“Go Wolfpack!” He cheered then he turned and looked at me, very seriously for a moment. “But… I don’t want to say go Wolfpack, Mommy.  I just want to say Go Tar Heels.”

And in that moment, I knew one thing to be true… I’m raising one hell of a Carolina fan.



8 Responses to “Go Tar Heels”

  1. Laura
    November 28th, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    Love this post. I could have written it myself, but with slight variations. I grew up in Charlottesville with UNC alum parents, so I spent my entire childhood rooting against the Cavaliers and wanting to go to UNC. Ended up picking William & Mary when I realized that out-of-state, UNC was just too expensive. 🙂 But luckily for me, W&M has no sports to speak of, so I am still a full-on Carolina fan. And my 2.5 yo son was Tarheel born and bred from day one. Hubby just laughs – he is not so in to sports either. Star Wars or LOTR maybe, but not sports.

  2. Law Momma
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    W&M is a great school!!!! And yeah, I was fortunate to be in-state… much more reasonable tuition! 🙂

  3. Lynne DeVenny
    November 28th, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

    GO TARHEELS! Signs of genius, there, I tell ya

  4. Law Momma
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    I (obviously) couldn’t agree more. 🙂

  5. Delia
    November 29th, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    My husband and I both went to Texas A&M. We took C to his first Aggie football game this past weekend. At the age of two. He loved it and told us one day we’ll watch him win the Aggie game. Seems to me you are just raising J right!

  6. Law Momma
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Your kid is awesome!!! Won’t it be hilarious if they actually DO end up doing all these things?

  7. TarynB
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    LOL. That’s awesome!!!! I don’t have super love for any collegiate team, but I LOVE my pro sports, esp the Texans and Astros. My son now thinks that any football team he sees that wears red or blue is automatically the Texans! And I love that. (Plus my ex is an Eagles fan, so my heart smiles when Luke tells him he loves the Texans!) hahaha

  8. Law Momma
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Ha! Yeah… that is a nice little “rub” isn’t it? 🙂

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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