UNC vs. Duke: The Greatest Rivalry in Sports

UNC vs. Duke: The Greatest Rivalry in Sports

When it comes to college basketball, you can always expect the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils to put on a show.
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The NCAA Men's Basketball League is known for exciting and competitive games across the board, however, there are two teams that stick out. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils are known for having elite programs. With UNC having 6 National Championships and Duke with 5, these teams bring tough competition to the table each year. This could be a major explanation as to why these teams are infamously known as being arch-rivals.

Beginning in 1920, the battle between the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils is considered one of the greatest rivalries in all of college sport's history.

10 miles separate these two universities on Tobacco Road, but the journey is more than that, as the matchup is a long-awaited event. Intensity runs through the blood of fans from both teams, as they feel there is only room for one team in North Carolina to triumph.

Though the rivalry is intense with every athletic team, college basketball is at another level. The two face each other twice in regular season play, and they always put on a show for fans. Students camp outside of the arenas (Dean Smith Center and Cameron Indoor) as early as one week before the games to show their excitement and dedication.

You never know what is going to happen when these two teams battle, as sometimes one team may win both games, or each will win one game. Sometimes home court advantage plays a vital role in a win, and sometimes one team disappoints the crowd and wins the away game.

The rivalry has been going on for years and will continue to make history in the world of college sports. There have been too many game-winning shots within the final seconds of the game to count, that leaves one opponent feeling breathless and the other ecstatic.

There have been cases in which these teams have faced each other more than twice during the season. Just last year, in the 2017 season UNC and Duke battled it out for the ACC title. Going into this game, each team had one win under belt winning at their respective home courts. Duke took home the win and the ACC title.

There have also been several cases in which one of the teams is ranked highly in the league, and one had a losing record. You can pretty much forget each team's record when going into these rivalry match-ups. It's usually a coin toss or a boxing match, where each team needs to throw a punch in order to stay alive.

The environment in these game settings is a catalyst for the performance of the players. Before their most recent matchup on February 8, 2018, in the last 100 meetings each team won 50 games and the difference in points scored was only 2.

Carolina was the victor in the most recent match-up, but you can expect another exciting game on March 3rd. Will North Carolina advance in the series 52-50, or will Duke keep it exciting and tie it at 51-51?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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I'm Grateful My Dad Was My Coach, But I Wouldn't Want To Do It Again

It's not as great as it may sound.

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Soccer was always a huge part of my life. I started playing when I was 8-years old and I played on both the recreational and travel levels. Unfortunately, my sophomore year presented a scheduling conflict between soccer and theatre. So, at the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to hang up my cleats and continue on with theatre.

In the almost 10 years on the field, however, I had quite the assortment of coaches. A coach who seemed like he couldn't be less thrilled to be in charge of a hoard of eight-year-olds, one who made us practice outside in the dead of winter and one who's pockets seemed to always be full of keys that would jingle all practice long.

But I've never had a coach quite as memorable as my dad.

Now, my dad has always been a big sports guy. He loves basketball, baseball, football and even golf, but he never really showed an interest in soccer, outside of watching me play. So when one of my old coaches was ejected from a game and it was either find a new coach in five minutes or forfeit, I was shocked to see Gary Hess volunteer. But he did, and from that moment on, my dad was my new coach. I had always wondered what it was like to have a parent as a coach. I had always imagined that it was a dream, you always had someone to practice with, you could help strategize for big games and you'd always be kind of a right-hand man on the field.

Boy was I wrong.

my dad was nothing if not a good coach. He had a good understanding of the game and he let us all try our hand at positions we were curious about but being his daughter presented some tricky situations. On more than one occasion, the short 15-minute ride from the soccer field back to our house after practice became a time for harsh critique and arguments that we often brought home to my mom... sorry mom.

That wasn't all though, I knew as an athlete that you were supposed to leave it all on the field. If your team won, soak it in and move on. If your team had a tough loss, be upset about it for a second and move on, but when your dad is your coach, it's a little harder to do.

After games I would get to hear all of his feedback, some good and some bad and even when his critiques weren't directed at me, they were directed at my teammates and friends and sometimes his harsh words and even his praise of other people was hard to hear. Of course, it didn't help that he stepped into the coaching job for a group of 14-year-olds who weren't always the easiest to deal with, me being probably the most difficult of all just because it's hard to separate your coach from your dad and your player from your daughter.

Despite our issues, we had a good time and as I got older and my dad got more comfortable with coaching and found his style, we were a much better team. We argued less, though every now and again we'd still but heads. I started to take direction more seriously and he started to understand how to communicate effectively with a group of young kids. We didn't ever have a superstar season but at the end of the day, we had a good time.

Good and bad, I wouldn't trade the years I spent playing soccer with my dad as the coach for anything. But if it came down to it again now I think I'd have to say thanks but no thanks. With that said though, he made me a better player and a better person so, thanks, dad.

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