Jon Dawson: UNC, Duke and the Smurfs

Jon Dawson: UNC, Duke and the Smurfs

The Cameron Crazies welcome one of their biggest fans / Image from YouTube

Whether you're a sports obsessive or a casual observer, you probably heard about the Carolina/Duke game last week.

I've always been more interested in music, comedy and movies than sports, but I do keep up with the UNC Tar Heels basketball team. I was brought up in a Tar Heel household, and there was just something cool about listening to Woody Durham — The Voice of the Tar Heels — relay the play-by-play action on the radio.

To this day, given the choice of listening to current UNC announcers Jones Angell and Eric Montross call the games on the radio vs. watching the game on television while Dick Vitale pops hyperbole vitamins, I always opt for the radio.

Last week, the Tar Heels were victorious, although Duke can be so explosive I didn't relax until there were a few minutes left in the game. I was, of course, happy UNC won, but I realize I had nothing to do with it. I didn't make any 3-pointers, take any charges or draw up any plays — although I've sent quite a few to coach Roy Williams over the years.

I'm still a bit miffed Roy hasn't tried my Five Corners offense, but my sources tell me he's saving it for the tournament.

People who attend UNC home basketball games have been accused over the years of being subdued, often referred to as the "wine and cheese crowd.” I don't have the time to properly research the social status of the 21,750 people who fill the seats at the Dean E. Smith Center, but I do know about the people who've sat with me during the handful of games I've attended in Chapel Hill over the years. 

As for the cheese portion, it's more than a safe bet to assume that one, if not all, in our party had consumed some Kraft macaroni and cheese in the days leading up to or possibly during the game. But I'm thinking the cheese referred to in "wine and cheese crowd" would be something highfalutin’ such as Stilton, Derby Sage or Serbian Donkey Cheese.

The closest any of us would have gotten to wine would have been a sip of Welch's grape juice that sat in the fridge a tad too long. 

To be honest, I've never understood the belief that a home crowd needs to cheer a team on in order for them to win. I guess there's some sort of endorphin released when thousands of fans loaded with overpriced beer and nachos yell in unison, but one would hope the players on the court would have enough drive to win without the tsunamic wave of beer and cheese breath wafting over the court like smoke from a nearby fire.

On the other end of the stick, you have the Cameron Crazies at Duke. There's no wine and cheese with this crowd, as they act as if they've been living on a diet of Sterno and coffee grounds during the days leading up to each home game.

As with all student sections, they yell and wave their arms in an effort to distract players for the opposing team. But yelling and waving is amateur hour, and these Cameron Crazies are professionals. 

According to an article by Brent Axe, the Cameron Crazies have "thrown Twinkies at players deemed overweight" and once chanted at N.C. State players, "That's alright, that's okay! You will work for us one day!”

Last week, as the UNC/Duke game reached the 3-minute mark and the Tar Heels were up by 16, I texted my dad to see if he thought it was safe to exhale and enjoy the game a little bit. He responded in the affirmative, so I tried to visualize all of those Cameron Crazies walking back to their dorms covered in blue paint, like a New Orleans-style funeral procession full of giant Smurfs. 

As the moonlight shined on their royal blue faces like a deleted scene from the movie "Avatar,” the Crazies would be startled by a rustling in the bushes. Then, a confused Grayson Allen would jump out and trip one of them, which would then lead Coach K to indefinitely suspend him for an entire game. That's as far as I've gotten, but workshops are planned for later this week.

Since the Atlantic Coast Conference is now home to 50 or so teams (many of which aren't even on the Atlantic coast), in a few short days UNC and Duke will be at it again in Chapel Hill. Although I'm hoping for a repeat Tar Heel victory, I don't see them beating Duke twice in a matter of weeks. If the Tar Heels lose the game, it'll be because they didn't score enough points, not because the fans in the stands didn't act like they'd all eaten a bad piece of fish. 

If Zion Williamson scores 80 points in the first half, here's hoping none of the wine and cheese crowd throws a worn-out pair of sneakers on the floor.


Jon Dawson's humor columns are published weekly by 

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