That famous feud between West Virginia and Kentucky families, the Hatfield clan and the McCoy people, lives on with the petty rivalry between Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. The most recent skirmish involved a post-athletics contest and a pissing match that has ensued. Please excuse the graphic language but that’s what it is. It's a backwoods skirmish that just will not go away.
In late November, the Tar Heels football team laid a beating on the Blue Devils on the latter’s home turf, Wallace Wade Stadium. With the win, the light blue tribe retook the precious (to these two teams only) Victory Bell from the royal blue clique. Due to previous ownership, the Bell was mounted on a cart painted the darker shade of blue. The UNC peeps, armed with cans of light blue spray paint, did what the winner always does; they changed the color of that cart to the victor’s color of blue. The television network showing the game prolonged its telecast to reveal what was soon dubbed the most exciting part of the entire telecast. As the picture faded to black, the audience thought the celebration was over.
“Not so fast my friend,” as Lee Corso would say. The Picasso effort was not complete. Paint started to fly and landed on practice facility turf, walls, and carpet, and the Stadium. Total replacement and clean-up bill for the damages was $27,170.44 and sent to UNC-CH whose coach, Larry Fedora, called Duke coach David Cutcliffe to apologize. Cutcliffe didn’t return his call. The UNC athletics director, Bubba Cunningham, complained about the non-returned call and questioned the charges, but paid half of the bill from his personal checking account as did Fedora the other half. With their inflated salaries, just as all coach’s and athletics directors salaries could, they could have paid that bill many times over. Then Cunningham mentioned damage to UNC’s south Building, painted D-U-K-E, and happen to mention that UNC paid to sandblast away the paint.
“…we have no idea who did this,” Cunningham wrote to Duke AD Kevin White, “but I simply included it to demonstrate that all fans, teams, coaches, students, etc., need to appreciate and respect the rivalry.” Or the pissing match. If the two schools can’t act like adults in the aftermath of a victory and in the aftermath of the aftermath, maybe it’s time to lay to rest the Hatfield-McCoy fued. The rest of us would like that very much but, no, we have to be subjected to it again this week and again in a few more weeks, and again and again. Why? Because that petty rivalry has the media in a frenzy, a passion the media will not ignore.
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belie (verb) [bih-lahy]: to show to be false; contradict