The Battle of Tobacco Road

Published by B. Marjorie Gullick on February 05, 2010 at 10:10PM

On Feb. 10, a sporting event that rocks my world–although barely touching the consciousness of the Ivy League–will take place: the Carolina/Duke basketball game.

Coming from North Carolina, I understand the singular importance this game has for the teams’ fans; I’ve seen the clash of the blues, light to dark; I’ve seen hopes shattered, bets lost, and tears shed because of the numbers on the scoreboard. I’ve had a taste of rivalries with the contention between Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, but even with hatred of the Blue Devils in my heart, I can hardly claim that it’s been going on for a century.

The Harvard-Yale football game, “The Game,” originated in 1875; the Ivy League was throwing around insults before the invention of the car, before the Civil Rights Movement, before a World War. The Game is, in fact, the oldest continuing rivalry in sports and was ranked sixth in the Best Rivalries in College Athletics as selected by Sports Illustrated. Ever since the first meeting between the Crimson and the Bulldogs, the overall record stands in favor of Yale, at 65-53-8.

So perhaps as I watch the game on Sunday (and lament the fall of my beloved Tarheels), perhaps I won’t put as much meaning in the outcome–after all, it’s just a game, not The Game.