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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Give'em Hell

"I know the Tar Heel song," my six year old daughter said to me on the morning after the Heels won the men's basketball national championship. "Rah rah, Car'lina-lina," she continued, and I found myself intrigued by the impending denouement. "Rah rah, Car'lina-lina, Rah rah, Car'lina-lina, go to *pfft* Duke!"

I don't know who taught her the fight song. There is a boy in her class who she has said is a Tar Heel, and I suspect her teacher may also be complicit. She's a kindergarten aged North Carolina native, so I suppose it's about time she started crafting her allegiance. My wife and I aren't from here, so should she come away with a North Carolina ACC allegiance, I'm reasonably agnostic as to which. We're tax paying citizens and I'm employed by the UNC system, so either Carolina or State could make sense. We live in the Triad, so I wouldn't be against Wake. Put another way, I'm agnostic against who for, but adamant as to who against.

While I'm pleased whoever taught her the song opted for the radio edit, I noted that had they not, she certainly wouldn't be the first southern kid whose first foray into minor oaths is related to a college sports allegiance. The South corners the market on on Hell in fight songs, spirit songs, and changes - go to hell, give 'em hell, to hell with, beat the hell outta, who the hell are we, and helluvan engineer are all southern mainstays. The north hardly registers any ticks: Illinois's Don't Send My Boy to Harvard and Johns Hopkins' To Win are among the exceptions, and you can't even count the latter without a vigorous debate on Baltimore and Maryland's status as a southern city/state. Perhaps it makes sense that in the Bible Belt, Hell is so readily associated with the enemy. Or maybe it's just the elevation of athletic rivalries to biblical proportions. 


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