I’m blue and I’m proud

“They may not do so good tonight,” said the woman in my aerobics class who was wearing a shirt the same shade of light blue as mine. “That’s why they play the game,” I loudly responded. “You never know what will happen!” Two other women dressed in neutral colors, attracted by my vehemence, came over and said, “It’s just a game.”

No, it’s not.

It’s the reason for stocking my freezer with sausage balls. (They’re expressive projectiles AND snacks!) It’s why the house rule is that all present must shout “Ferret! Ferret! Ferret!” whenever Coach K’s face appears on the TV screen. It’s why The Hub will come home tonight and ceremonially don the lucky Carolina Blue argyle socks.

It’s Carolina-Dook. Yes, that’s “Dook.”

My father and I were basketball nuts together. My mother never got it, never understood why he and I would spend an hour on the phone talking about something that happened three nights earlier. She really didn’t understand why he once drove three hours on icy roads to Raleigh because I’d gotten tickets for the two of us to the Dean Dome. Or why, as a child, he tried to convince me that they called him Dean Smith because he was dean of the whole school.

Recent developments indicate that he might not have been too wrong about that last part. I know that college basketball is riddled with problems that need to be solved and as a graduate, I do resent the cheapening of college degrees by allowing athletes to take no-show classes and other such things.

But I need one thing in my life that I can be childish and stupid about. Just one. Please. About everything else in my existence, I’m a grownup.  I do weight-bearing exercise, try to eat more kale, save for retirement, meet book deadlines, avoid drinking to excess, make sure my cats’ rabies shots are current and get my car’s oil changed on time.

Those few hours from November through March when I become a screaming, trashy-food-eating, in-the-moment crazy woman are my right. I’ve earned them.

So, no, it’s not just a game. Especially if the Heels win.