There’s an old proverb that states, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Clearly this was said eons before the advent of the 64 team NCAA basketball tournament.
Last night my wife, a Duke grad and fan, and I were watching Sweet Sixteen games at a local watering hole over a meal and a martini. I went to Nevada and picked Michigan State to win my pool so for all intents and purposes I never had a dog in the fight. Her Blue Devils lost the night before so I thought she was now teamless too.
“I’m not sure who I want to win,” I said between bites.
“In these games (Saturday night) or to win it all?” She replied after a sip.
I have friends who pledge allegiance to Notre Dame and Oregon, two of my children and one of my best friends attended the University of Wisconsin. I bear no grudge toward the Orange and harbor no ill will for Iowa State. I have nothing against the Hoosiers or Wahoos and I almost attended Gonzaga. So for whom should I, could I cheer? The only thing I knew for sure was, because of my marital allegiance to the Blue Devils, that I COULD NOT, WOULD NOT become a Tar Heel fan, not for two measly weeks, not for two seconds. As a Duke alum I was convinced my bride felt the same, until she didn’t.
“I guess I’d like to see Carolina win it all,” is what the person to whom I’m married, the one I thought I knew, said.
I nearly choked on my bite of lump meat crab and asparagus mac and cheese. Was this some form of Stockholm Syndrome? Was the love of my life suffering from some sort of actual March Madness? I guessed she was going to say Oregon because they beat Duke and, you know the reasoning, if they go on to win it all it means Duke could have too. Any other team would have made more sense to me than the hated in state rival. But she said it and she meant it. After regaining my composure I asked the only question that made sense to me,
“If Carolina wins, it’s good for Duke,” was her brilliant, obvious, seven word answer but it didn’t sink it right away. Then she added “school first, conference second.”
I am a life long SF Giants fan and because of that, even though they are in the same division, I could never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ahh heck one more ever for good measure, root for the damn Dodgers to win anything and I told my wife so.
“I get it,” she replied trying to assuage my confusion, ” but that’s apples and oranges.” I said nothing about the fruit salad so she continued, “if the Dodgers win it doesn’t help the Giants financially. It doesn’t get better players to come play for San Francisco.” If Carolina wins a national championship it’s also good for Duke.”
I understood her reasoning but that didn’t mean I had to like it. Roy Williams is not my idea of a great coach, or even a good one for that matter. His team’s win in spite of him not because of him. I told my wife that.
“All true,” she said, “so it’s Virginia.” Maybe if Zach Auguste didn’t act like such a punk she would have said Notre Dame, I thought.
Like I said, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.