Oh MAN is it a tough year to be a Tar Heel fan.

Okay, a quick tutorial for those of you who are a) not from N.C. where this kind of talk is unavoidable or b) not college basketball fans in general. Where I live, right here in the middle of this state, is a hotbed for college basketball, ACC college basketball in particular (that’s the Atlantic Coast Conference, consisting of my team, Carolina, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, Virginia, and one more that I hate so much I can hardly bring myself to put it on this site—Duke).

Now, again, if you’re not from around here you probably think that last part of the above paragraph was petty and childish. Believe me, all real Duke fans feel the same way about Carolina, and any who don’t I have no respect for. There’s an interesting dynamic that happens here as basketball season begins in earnest, where people that I get along with just fine the rest of year suddenly become people I can’t stand—okay, that’s a little harsh, maybe just can’t tolerate—simply because they root for a different team. This animosity only lasts until April, when the tournaments end, and then we’re all one big happy community again. Until next year.

(By the way, if you are a Duke fan reading this and feel compelled to write some nasty comment about UNC or whatever, please restrain yourself. I’m getting it from all sides all the time anyway, I know your team is really good this year and we’re having, um, a bit of a rebuilding year, so spare me, okay? Spare me!)

Anyway. So my team got spanked the other night. Spanked. There’s no other word that adequately describes a final score of 112-79, and it’s only the BEGINNING of the season. Oh, god help us.

I am a true fan, however. I love my team. I’ve rooted for Carolina since before I even really knew what basketball was, and while I’m not quite as rabid a fan as I was in college—when I couldn’t even watch games with other people because I got so emotional about it—I’ve stuck with my team through some bad seasons, and I’ll stick through this one too. Which doesn’t mean it will be easy, by any means. But I’ll do it. Because that is what we as fans—all fans—do.