I’ve always hated Duke.
I hate their stupid colors and their stupid players with their stupid smugness and their stupidly amazing college degree that none of their players seem to end up receiving.
But I’ve never had a reason to. I jumped on the “Hate Duke” bandwagon because at a young age I began enjoying college basketball, and it appeared that one of the aspects of college basketball was hating Duke. It’s fun to hate Duke. It’s like hating the Yankees in baseball. They win a ton and for some reason it always feels like they think they are better than you.
And screw Christian Laettner. What a tool.
Today, however, everything changed. Because I now have a real reason to hate the Duke University Blue Devils.
If you read my Bracketology column, you know the madness that I delve into once March comes around – creating brackets of brackets in an attempt to find a balance of plausibility and the upsets that are predestined to occur every Spring. This year, I chose a bracket that was determined by a Random Number Generator. It was a decision that occurred at about 10:30pm on Wednesday night, after I had been staring at brackets and statistics and cheerleaders for a solid eight hours straight. I was not at my best.
That bracket had Duke winning the title.
This season I did not know a lot about college basketball. I didn’t get to watch enough games to learn why I should hate this particular Duke team, and I kind of like Jabari Parker because I’m praying that the Sixers will have the opportunity to draft him. I had to finish my column and I liked the bracket enough and so I stuck with my gut and I posted it.
Three hours ago, #14 seed Mercer upset Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Mercer, consisting of seven seniors who had been in over a hundred games together, played with intensity and a mad amount of hustle. They switched from zone to man-to-man on defense, moved off the ball to get open on offense, and had a few mean pick and rolls.
Duke shot jump shots and wined about not getting calls.
Had I not selected a bracket that had Duke winning the title, this would have been my favorite game of the tournament. Watching Mercer outwork a team of freshmen that were already thinking about how much money their first professional contract would be worth should have been pure magic to me.
With two minutes left and the game almost tied, I caught myself actively cheering for Duke. And it was awful. I felt gross and uncomfortable, because I realized that the “Come on!” I had yelled at the television was in support of the Blue Devil dynasty and not the mid-major Cinderella that everyone in the world should have been cheering for.
This killed me. But I felt what I felt because my bracket is important to me; I always want my bracket to do extremely well, because if it does it is easier to convince strangers on the Internet to come to me when they have questions about their brackets.
The game ended, and I sat staring at CBS with disbelief and disdain. The camera cut to a shot of the Mercer team celebrating with their fans (who had been locked in and loud for the entirety of the game) and I saw this:
In some awful twist of reality, this .gif expressing some of the purest joy the Internet has ever seen, was bumming me out because now my bracket was officially busted. I realized then that I had two choices:
- Keep being sad, blaming myself for picking Duke when I knew that I was supposed to hate them.
- Realize that no matter what my bracket was probably screwed anyway, and go back to hating Duke, now with a real reason to do so.
I was sad for another moment, and then I stopped. I decided that there were things more important than brackets and strangers on the Internet coming to me for bracket advice. Things like dancing, and upsets, and hating Duke. Because hating Duke is important, as I now know.
So Fuck You Duke.
Fuck you for robbing me of the elation expressed in the aforementioned .gif. Fuck you for always winning shit and having kids just roll up for a year before bailing for the pros. Fuck you for ruining my bracket. And fuck you for making me cheer for you instead of a team of seniors who were living their basketball dreams in what will probably be the last important games that any of them play.
I’m glad your stupid team lost and I don’t care if that bracket that I worked really hard on is totally busted, because it means that you jerks lost, which you deserve because I hate you.
I hate you Duke. I hate everything about you. I always have.
The difference is, now I know why.