Ever since I was a little girl sitting with my mom and my grandparents in late November sitting inside the Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill - I've been a die-hard UNC fan.
My parents are divided. Having a mom who went to UNC and a dad who went to NCSU has been difficult, especially being their only child. Whichever team I chose to cheer on meant I was more inclined to like the other parent (in a joking way).
While I didn't hate NCSU - I went to as many UNC football and basketball games as possible and never dreamed of a day when I'd yell with passion "Go to Hell Carolina!".
But here I am, living my freshman year of college in Wolfpack country (Raleigh, NC) - not a Carolina fan in sight.
I have experienced so many great memories while being a Carolina fan.
The November tradition with my entire family in attendance to a Carolina football game, or attending late Wednesday basketball games with my mom, or rushing the court of the Dean Dome after the 2017 National Champions, or rushing Franklin Street to jump over bonfires after an epic win against Duke.... those memories can never be replaced. I even dressed up in my XL Carolina sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers and held up the "day after the National Championship" newspaper for my senior year Throwback Thursday (representing myself at 3 am on April 3, 2017.)
In January of 2018, I made the decision to attend NCSU for my university of choice and at the UNC/NCSU basketball game where NCSU beat UNC, I felt a change of heart.
Do I start cheering on the team that has accepted me? Or do I continue to cheer on the team that I have since I was born?
It didn't take long for me to start attending NCSU football games and proudly saying "Go to Hell Carolina!" (to the disappointment of my mom).
I easily switched over to bleeding wolfpack red and started arguing with UNC students over who was the better school.
Then I got the opportunity to visit some of my closest friends at Carolina in February of 2019 for the UNC/Duke game. We decided to eat at Supdogs ( a top favorite restaurant of mine) and cheered on my ex-favorite team that ended up beating Duke and allowing us to rush Franklin Street at midnight. (Big shoutout to Obama and Zion Williamson's broken shoe.)
Being in the crowd of Carolina fans (I wearing one of my friends Carolina shirts) and remembering the amazing feeling of an epic win was nostalgic but also strange. I wish I could explain what it really felt like. It wasn't the same rush, most likely because my heart now lived elsewhere but it was a good feeling since I would do anything to relive some of my greatest moments.
Of course, it wasn't fun watching my NCSU friends call me a traitor and yell at me with lots of bad words through the phone, but I had a clear argument against what they said.
While I love NCSU and I will pull for them when they are playing against UNC, or when they are battling a twitter war with Barstool UNC or when they are fighting against a "class skipping" group of students - the rivalry is kind of one-sided.
UNC and Duke have been known rivals for a long time. Yes NCSU is a rival as well, but the battle of the blues is on t-shirts at both universities and results in bonfires and couch burning once the game is finished. I don't believe that UNC rushed their home street after beating us twice in a row. Sure Twitter blew up but that's not the main point. For NCSU, beating either team (UNC or Duke) is what is more important because our team (in basketball) tends to be the underdog and is very impressive when we rise to the competition.
I prefer NCSU, I won't lie.
The student life, university, style, and overall as a whole is better. There is no argument there. We have Wolfpack pride and are not stuck up like the other universities.
Screaming "Go to Hell Carolina!" is perfectly fine, but our rivalry doesn't just exist with UNC, it exists with every other school in North Carolina. If we can rise with Kevin Keatts - then we could end up being the best basketball team out there in a few years and all the other school will count us in as our rival.
And in the meantime, we can continue to hate UNC, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.