The first time I met my husband's parents, we were sitting around their dining table in Greensboro with a number of their close friends, Carolina fans all. The group was bemoaning that another friend's daughter was about to start law school at Duke. I, a California-born, Midwest-bred UVA grad who went to the tailgates but skipped the games, innocently piped up "Why, what's wrong with Duke?"
Fast forward two decades: I consider myself a paragon of diplomacy for maintaining close friendships with Duke fans.
When we moved to Chapel Hill in 2016 - home for my husband, but new to me and my children - it was hard to leave our very small town in Napa Valley where everyone felt like family. But even in California we rooted for the Tarheels. So when we got to Chapel Hill and landed in the epicenter of Tarheel-dom, we had an instant tribe. Yes, we were homesick for Napa, but we could not have been more excited to hop on the shuttle and go to a basketball game. Or a football game. Or a womens' soccer game. Or a baseball game. Or an indoor track meet. The world of Tarheel sports opened its arms to us, die-hard fans from across the country, and made us feel like we had come home.
Doesn't hurt that we won the championship that year either. You better believe a suitcase-full of Carolina blue gifts made their way back to California......