PHOENIX – This is not turning out to be a good day at work.
It started out like any other day working for Arizona Sports with the usual pleasantries and hello’s upon arrival.
However, it took a turn for the worse when I ran into my boss, “The Taskmaster” as we like to affectionately call him.
He asks me, “Who will you be rooting for tomorrow in the Duke-Arizona game?”
I immediately felt like I was being put in one of those trap scenarios where no matter my answer it would lead to my doom.
Being an ASU grad and a life-long Duke hater, there really wasn’t an answer to the question.
I would rather have pins stuck in my eyeballs while boiling in a pot of toxic waste than root for either of these schools.
So, of course my boss tells me my writing assignment for the day is to write a piece on who I will be rooting for.
Knowing my disdain for both schools, I can only imagine this is some sort of payback for all my snide comments about his beloved Nebraska.
Confession: Yes, I rooted for Arizona when they won the National Championship in 1997, but that was before I became wise and chose a higher calling at ASU where there is no room for bipartisanship.
You’re either a Sun Devil or regrettably a Wildcat and we don’t want to see the other do well.
On the other hand, for as long as I can remember, I have despised Duke University.
My favorite moment every year of the NCAA Tournament isn’t the buzzer beaters, the upsets or filling out my bracket.
It’s when somebody rises up and knocks off that egotistical university that resides in North Carolina.
There is no real reason or logic behind my hatred, they just have always seemed to be too good and knew it.
Just a bunch of snotty brats that thought they were better than you just because they were Duke University.
It didn’t help that growing up, my favorite college team was the Michigan Wolverines and we rarely ever beat Duke including the painful loss in the National Championship game in 1992.
I’m also tired of all the talk of how great a coach Mike Krzyzewski is (even if it’s true).
So, I can’t stand either team, but the question still remains, “Who will I be rooting for?”
Many fans, after their team has been eliminated, like to root for another inter-state school or a team that plays in the same conference as theirs since it brings pride to your conference if they advance.
Using this formula, I should be rooting for Arizona since they’re located in my state and play in the same Pac-10 conference as ASU.
However, if they win, for the next few days, I will be subjected to constant drivel from some of my fellow co-workers and shameful acquaintances (friends who just didn’t know any better), who went to that school down south, about how they’re going to win it all and how much of a beast Derrick Williams is.
That’s great Arizona, now go learn how to kick an extra point!
On the other hand, if Duke were to win, it would simply further their reputation as a great college basketball school even though they’ve already achieved that status long ago.
So, here’s what I am rooting for. No, I’m not the sort of low-life (I went to ASU after all) that wants to see a team’s star player blow out his knee, so that their team has almost no chance to advance.
I want to see the Duke-Arizona game go to some ridiculous amount of overtimes, wearing whatever team that wins completely out in the process so that they have nothing left in the tank for whoever they play in the Elite Eight.
Hey, it might happen. They call it March Madness for a reason.
Let’s hope I don’t get asked to write who I’m rooting for if the winner of this game ends up playing Ohio St. in the Final Four.