REVIEW: To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever by Will Blythe

Dear Mr. Blythe,

To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy ForeverI loved your book. Just loved it. Well, maybe not quite all of it as sometimes you did tend to drift a bit and go on a bit about religion and other non-basketball issues but when you got back to enumerating just exactly why the rivalry is so fierce between these two legendary college sports basketball programs which are only 8 miles apart from each other in distance, your book is divine. And after all, you do cheer for the right team! Go Heels!

Yet I will admit to reading the interviews with the Dook players and Coach K (who really does look like a rat in a suit) with just as much interest as I paid to those from Carolina. And your play by plays of games watched at home with your mother and especially the one with your sister at Dook are priceless!

I know that to non-basketball fans, this review will be meaningless but then Jane and I never said we’d limit ourselves to just romance books. So here’s to the great season of 2005 you covered so well which ended with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions and let’s hope for better in 2007. After all, 2006 was just a rebuilding year, right?

If God is not a Tarheel, then why is the sky Carolina Blue

~Jayne, UNC Class of ’87


0 comments on “REVIEW: To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever by Will Blythe

  1. Jayne –

    Amen, sister. There is nothing else in life about which I get so crazy than my loathing for Duke. It is nice to know the condition has been documented in print and that it is okay to enjoy my obsessive hatred!

    Susan, UNC Class of ’91

  2. Hark! It’s the sound of a Tarheel voice, ringing clear and true. Girlfriend, you really need to read this book. Blyth talks with most of the championship team as well as Roy Williams and Dean Smith. He doesn’t have any interviews with Matt Doherty but he does mention the imfamous comment about the Dook cheerleaders. [evil grin]

    He also describes one practice session that ends with Michael Jordan showing up to talk with the players. He tells them how the former Carolina players live vicariously through the current team.

    Here’s one passage in which Blyth converts his girlfriend’s son into a Carolina fan and Dook hater.

    ‘From time to time I have felt silly about this devotion to a college team and the concomitant hatred of its rival. Here I am, a grown man, huddled in front of a TV, hiding out from the world from November to April, watching students battle each other in games that shouldn’t mean more to me than to them. Right?

    Not long ago, as I watched Carolina endure a particularly ugly sequence against Duke, I scared my girlfriend’s nine-year-old son, Harry. (I had already terrified the dog, the beloved Gracie, who had fled into the bathroom to avoid my raving.) Duke’s Dahntay Jones had just driven home a particularly obnoxious dunk and was now flexing his muscles like an insane bodybuilder. Was there no justice in the universe? Where was God?

    I pounded my hand on the coffee table, stomped my feet on the floor, and exclaimed, with extreme eloquence, “Shit, hell, piss, damn it! And don’t say what I just said, Harry!” Indeed, I felt proud of myself that I had limited my profanity to just these few words. A virtual Zen master of self-control.

    Harry, who had been watching me watch the game, asked, “Why do you have to get so mad?” Normally, he would have delighted in an adult’s swearing. But now he was edging backward across the room, the way people will when you have a gun pointed at them. His eyes were wide.

    “Because I hate Duke,” I explained.

    “Why do you hate them?” he asked.
    Here I hesitated. A young boy had asked me a guileless question, and he needed an adult response. “Well, that’s an interesting question,” I told him, channeling Mister Rogers, “and it deserves an honest answer.” I paused for a moment, as I had seen his mother do when addressing an earnest inquiry by her son. Children are our future. We must teach them well, even when it is hard.

    “The truth is they are terrible people,” I told him. “Detestable.”

    “All of them?” he asked.

    “Every last one of them,” I said. “Especially the coach.”

    “I hate them, too,” Harry said, settling in next to me on the couch. And thus was born another soldier in the war. On the door of his room hung a chalkboard for self-expression, and I was pleased to note that now, scrawled in his child’s hand (with no assistance or prodding from me) was the unimpeachable sentiment, NO DUKE FANS ALLOWED IN HERE.’

  3. True story: my sister works for the university and her boss was flying home from a medical conference while reading your book. Halfway through the flight, he looks up and notices that J.J. Reddick is sitting across the aisle from him. Dr. C grins and waggles the book a little at him.

  4. Even though I am a Dookie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. What a great rivalry. If the two programs were not both at such a high level, it wouldn’t be the same (evidence the Gaudet and Dohery “epochs”).

    You mentioned that there were players that opposing fans could not bring themselves to hate. For Duke fans, Steve Hale was one of those players. Just before the season ending game at Duke his senior year, Steve suffered a collapsed lung and it was announced that he would not be able to play.

    I assumed that the Crazies would lay off of him at the game, but when he entered Cameron in Carolina blazer and slacks, one side of the student section let out a roar “IN, HALE!” A heartbeat later the opposite side responded in a whisper “ex . . . Hale!”

    To his credit, Steve started laughing and waved to the crowd, which cheered him.

    Ya gotta love a rivalry like that.


  5. John, does it seem to you that the antics of student crowds (and I say that in general) have been getting less inventive of late? I remember stuff from my college days that was sharp, inspired and a pleasure to watch. Today lots of people seem to think that just shouting “You suck!” is enough.

  6. Jayne,

    Absolutely! And I put a lot of the blame on the overexposure the Cameron Crazies have received (“gee, we could do that at out school!”) and the devaluation of profanityin society in general. What started out as spontaneous, clever chants has become as choreographed and stylized as a Kabuki play.

    Duke biggest laspse of taste occurred during the Herman Veal introduction (at a time when he was charged with the rape of a coed) when the court was showered with condoms and panties. But Maryland takes first prize by filling the student section with red tee-shirts imprinted with the F-bomb.

    All that aside, College Basketball is still the most exciting spectator sport there is and the Duke Carolina rivalry is the best example of what it’s all about.


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