Currently it’s 10:21 p.m. on a Sunday evening. But tonight is not just any Sunday evening. No, tonight is THE Sunday evening that kicks off a glorious week at UNC. A week of hatred and rivalry where two schools will fight for two VERY different shades of blue. On Wednesday we will face the symbol of all things evil, the Dook Blue Devils, 8 miles down Tobacco Road in Durham – and I am excited.

If you know anything about me, you know that there are very few things I love more than Carolina Basketball. Along with that, I can confidently say there is no person, place or thing I hate more on this earth than Dook Basketball. UNC alum Will Blythe once said “to hate like this is to be happy forever” (and also wrote an incredible book about it, 10/10 would recommend) and honestly, I’ve never related to anything more.

It’s something about that nauseating feeling I get when I see that awful color blue or hear Dickie V rave about Zion’s latest dunk, it exhilarates me. And this week, so many first-years will learn to share that same feeling for the first time ever.

You can read all you want about the history of the rivalry or why you should hate dook, but the truth is, watching a Dook-Carolina basketball game as a UNC student is a truly special experience. No matter where you watch it – whether it’s in the Great Hall at the RHA watch party, your dorm lounge with all your hallmates, or a random sports bar on Franklin Street – you’ll feel that indescribable rush for approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.

The beautiful thing about this rivalry is, win or lose, you’re guaranteed to walk out of that watch party a little different. You’ll develop a hatred with a basketball player that you’ll probably keep with you for the rest of your life (*cough, cough… Grayson Allen…*), you’ll lose a couple decibels of your voice for a few days and you’ll fall even more in love with Roy Williams – if that’s somehow possible.

Because as a Carolina student, you know that you are a part of that team on the court. Those are your classmates fighting for a title that may be nothing more than a win or a loss on a record at the end of the day, but means much, much more than that. In fact, this rivalry would be nothing without you, the students, to support your University through thick and thin and embody school spirit.

Maybe this #BeatDookWeek you’ll watch your older friends change their Facebook profile photos and post throwback selfies with random basketball players. But by that rematch in second week of March, you’ll be all in – wearing a different Carolina blue article of clothing each day of the week to show your pride and alliance with the #BetterBlue, clear and true.

Your first time rushing Franklin street will be a highlight of your four years at Carolina. Whether you get to do it Wednesday night or not, you’ll soon agree that there is no better feeling than standing at the corner of Columbia and Franklin, singing the alma mater with strangers, huddled around a burning couch. Out of breath and unsure if your friends kept up with your pace from the sprint from Hojo, you’ll lose yourself, forgetting about the stress of school and tests and everything. In these moments, you’ll realize that you are in fact a Tar Heel forever.

You’ll try to tell your friends and family about the night, you’ll take tons of snapchats and pictures to capture the memories – but they will never understand this euphoric feeling, and nothing can ever replicate this joy.

Or maybe, on the other hand, things don’t go exactly as you and I hoped they would. The next day you’ll wake up (maybe still a little discouraged) and get to go to class on the greatest university on this planet. Those Dookies (who just sat outside in cold tents for MONTHS to witness that) simply cannot say the same.

So here’s to hating hard and claiming our state. This week, watch a few hype videos and pull out your favorite Tar Heel gear each and every day. May the Tar Heels rise victorious, and may you never forget that it is forever and always a Good Day To Be A Tar Heel.

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