Recent events make it all too easy to hate the University of New Jersey at Durham, all of its students and sundry alumni. The rich northern kids, the entitled attitudes, the obnoxiousness that serious dook watchers have all known and loathed for years came bursting out for all the world to see this spring. Now hating dook is like shooting fish in a barrel.
I remember a happier time, a more innocent time. A time when thinking Americans could hate dook for less tawdry reasons. Will Blythe does, too. Will Blythe is the former fiction editor of Esquire Magazine, a native of Chapel Hill and Carolina alum, and a dook-hater of the old school. He remembers where he was when Jeff Capel hit a half-court heave to send a 1995 UNC-dook game to overtime. (I remember where I was, too: in a sports bar in Austin, drinking beers on the Austin Duke Alumni Club’s bar tab, and making fun of the members of the Austin Duke Alumni Club; Carolina won the game, by the way.) He can tell you what the weather was like at his house when Walter Davis drained one from about 30 feet away to complete an 8-point comeback against dook with 17 seconds to play in a 1974 contest. He has dreamed up 101 ways to murder Dick Vitale. The man knows his Carolina-dook rivalry. (I can tell, because not only does he hate the same dook players that all diehard Carolina fans hate, he hates the same Carolina fans that real Carolina fans hate.)
What separates Blythe from your run-of-the-mill basketball fan is the rather sophisticated philosophy he has developed to rationalize his obsession: Blythe posits that human beings can find true happiness only by hating someone or something totally. Embrace that base instinct and give in to it. Blythe, like all thinking Americans, hates dook basketball and its execrable, rat-faced leader.
Blythe is an exceptionally funny writer. I am fully prepared to admit the possibility that only maniacs and people with lots of time on their hands would read To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever, but I do believe it will find a wider audience with fans of sport generally and readers who enjoy unadulterated acerbity. (I wrote in a previous post that Warren St John was the writer best able to describe the experience of being a fan. Well, Blythe is better.) If you read this far, you might like it, too.
I read a piece on the Carolina-dook rivalry that Blythe published in Sports Illustrated about 4 years ago, absolutely loved it, and waited for this book to come out. And waited. And waited. And then read it the week my pre-ordered copy from Amazon finally arrived. It was well worth the wait, even if the Sports Illustrated piece, published here as a prologue, was the best part of the book.
What can I say? I am a dork; this book validated everything I hold dear. I know that at least one BGBer has close ties to a dook alum. I urge her to forsake the darkness and come to the light.