Good for you, NC State! I am thrilled that you are thrilled to be in the NCAA tournament. It's not always easy being a part of the Wolfpack, after all, what with all those Dukies and Heels around. Shane Ryan, a Duke fan himself, wrote on the plight of the Wolfpack earlier this season.
Sports fans can be a savage lot. When it comes to cruelty, is there any group more relentlessly inventive? Chanting in unison, they pick at the heart of the enemy. But in my book, there's one chant more brutal than any other. It's worse than insulting someone's family, worse than hurling the most unspeakable epithet, and worse than mocking a personal handicap. This one cuts the deepest.
Can you imagine anything more devastating? Maybe you can. Maybe, despite the bold font I've used to make my point, those words look pretty tame. Hear me out. Here's what that seemingly innocuous little chant says, in friendly list form:
1. Hey, team that is geographically close and with whom we share a contentious history, we're about to beat you.
2. We know this matters to you. You wanted it bad.
3. It doesn't matter to us. We don't even consider you our main opponent. We're just casually beating you into the ground, barely noticing you, and tomorrow, we won't remember the final score while you sit crushed, turning over this loss in your mind. You are pathetic.
Is it starting to make sense?