Anti-Duke Manifesto

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The Fans

No essay on the subject can be complete without discussion of the mindless Duke fan base that has emerged over the past decade or so. As distinguished from the obnoxious student body that at least has a reason to support the team, these are the fair-weather fans that simply root for whichever team enjoys a winning tradition at a given point in time. They are the folks we see in four-wheel drives donning Blue Devil baseball caps and championship bumper stickers. Neither the Duke fan nor his close friends or family members attended Duke, but they have all purchased Blue Devil apparel from a Durham County Wal-Mart.

Unheard of during Krzyzewski’s early years, this growing collection of gullible dupes also buys into the media’s misplaced love for Duke by believing that the program and its coach are class unmatched. Most of the fans are North Carolinians, who, perhaps not unreasonably, assume that the school’s central state location is reason enough to justify an allegiance to it. Because the Blue Devil fan has no firsthand experience with the school, he has no idea that the vast majority of the student body (eighty-five percent) is imported, with a large percentage comprising smug Northeastern carpetbaggers who constantly mock North Carolina and its native residents. Much of the independent Duke fan base consists of teen and pre-teen fans, a fact that confirms the necessity of compulsory education and minimum age drinking laws.

Like the school, the Duke fan refuses to comprehend Duke’s many failures and somehow spins them into absurd distortions. The Duke fan is convinced that Duke players dominate in the NBA and creates various myths to hide the endless embarrassing proof to the contrary. He has come to believe that Cherokee Parks is a renowned Indian retirement community, rather than a classic NBA flop whose most distinguishing feature is a hideous assortment of tattoos. The perception that other schools are rude and cruel to Duke players, completely without cause, is another great example of this distorted mindset. The Duke fan honestly believes that Mike Krzyzewski is handsome and marvels at his ability to coach ACC basketball for a quarter of a century without sprouting a single grey hair.

Often short on intelligence and independent thought processes, the Duke fan blindly accepts the media’s portrayal of the program and is sure that Duke has won many more than three national championships in its one hundred years of college basketball history. The Duke fan indeed worships the sportscasters who perpetuate the myth of Duke superiority. He believes, for instance, that Dick Vitale is a keen and discerning basketball expert and an intelligent man in general. As such, the Duke fan goes through life believing that ‘notoriety’ is fame for something good and that ‘athletics’ is a four syllable word.

The Duke fans represented themselves particularly well following UNC’s national championship last season. Mere days afterwards, they flocked to internet message boards with the long-time Duke rallying cry of, ‘Wait till next year.’ Before UNC’s NCAA championship banner had even been hung, they mocked UNC for the humiliation it would surely receive the following year, as its star underclassmen announced their NBA plans. Duke fans promised weekly 40 point drubbings for UNC and raised questions as to whether the defending champion would even qualify for the NIT. Some suggested that Doherty’s 8-20 season would look good by comparison. The same individuals responded with disapproval to the UNC supporters who celebrated when UNC defeated Duke for its 21st victory a year later in Cameron. Such celebration, in the minds of Duke fans, bordered on the blasphemous in that it followed a spoiling of JJ Redick’s and Shelden Williams’s senior night celebration.

But above all, the Duke fan is a master of denial. He goes through life honestly thinking that Coach K and his players can do no wrong. Unable to rebut, if even read, the points made in writings such as this, his sole response is to wave off all criticism with the childhood response of, ‘You’re just jealous.’