Monday night time’s Clemson vs. Duke soccer sport in Week 1 felt like a fever dream. The entire world was united to help … Duke? It was an ideal storm of consideration, schadenfreude, and fascination which turned the Blue Devils into Loki for an evening, the villain that’s inconceivable to hate.
The cognitive whiplash was nonetheless so wild. Duke basketball is universally reviled in March — so why is Duke soccer instantly the folks’s champ?
No. 1: We love an underdog
Favorites are for homers, underdogs are for the remainder of us. It’s not a singular factor to this nation, however around the globe — we all love an underdog upsetting a juggernaut. On a micro degree it creates the unbelievable drama we crave, and per week’s price of hilarious banter a couple of crew floundering so badly. However there’s one thing bigger at play too.
There are few issues worse in sports activities than a sense of certainty. All of the drama is sapped out of a sport after we can predetermine everybody who will make the playoffs or compete for a championship earlier than the season begins. An underdog giving us a shock, particularly in faculty soccer means two issues:
- It retains the dream alive that cash, recruiting, and “the system” continues to be fallible and might’t all the time beat a missing crew in those self same areas.
- Should you’re a fan of actually anybody else, a high 10 crew shedding retains your goals alive.
It’s an ideal storm we see pretty usually, however maybe not as pronounced as watching a No. 9 Clemson crew completely crapping the mattress in opposition to Duke on nationwide TV and shedding 28-7.
No. 2: Watching Dabo Swinney be upset is actually enjoyable
Think about your most obnoxious uncle began a TikTok account, and that account turned sentient. That’s Dabo Swinney. He’s perpetually one of the crucial disingenuous males in knowledgeable the place everyone seems to be disingenuous.
Don’t get me flawed, Dabo’s private story is legitimately unbelievable. Raised in poverty in Alabama, making the Crimson Tide as a walk-on, transitioning that into a training profession that’s solely rivaled by Nick Saban within the final decade — it’s wonderful.
Any good will that story mustered has been washed away by Dabo turning into one of many whiniest dudes in faculty soccer. A person who claimed he would give up if faculty gamers have been ever paid, earlier than the ink was even dry on his 10-year, $93 million contract. His emotions about his personal gamers is the distillation of a person who would moderately see folks battle like he did, moderately than want for the much less lucky to have a better life.
“We attempt to train our guys, use soccer to create the alternatives, reap the benefits of the platform and the model and the advertising and marketing you’ve got out there to you. However so far as paying gamers, professionalizing faculty athletics, that’s the place you lose me. I’ll go do one thing else, as a result of there’s sufficient entitlement on this world as it’s.”
In November of 2020 when FSU cancelled their sport in opposition to Clemson after one in every of Dabo’s gamers examined optimistic for Covid, as a substitute of understanding the need to maintain folks secure from a pandemic that killed over 1,200 folks PER DAY that month — he used it as an opportunity to take a shot at Florida State.
Dabo loves nothing greater than confidently speak about issues he doesn’t perceive, and he has very particular opinions. It’s pathologically inconceivable for him to not have an opinion when he isn’t educated on a subject, a trait that’s all too prevalent.
So, when “Mr. Don’t Pay Gamers and You’re Delicate For Caring About Covid” loses so spectacularly, and also you understand he hasn’t actually achieved shit with out Trevor Lawrence or Deshaun Watson as his QB — nicely, that’s simply enjoyable.
No. 3: It’s actually humorous for Duke soccer to be good
By no means underestimate the facility of comedy. Whenever you have a look at the historical past of Duke soccer their consensus “finest” gamers both have photographs in black-and-white, or are pencil sketches taken from cigarette pack buying and selling playing cards.
Their solely family title within the NFL proper now could be Daniel Jones, who appears like an accountant requested Zoltar for a want and selected to be a soccer participant. The person is nice (maybe not as nice as Giants followers consider), however he’s the least soccer participant wanting soccer participant within the NFL.
Jones is a distillation of Duke itself. It doesn’t look the half, you’re undecided if it’s actually that nice, however rattling if it isn’t enjoyable to look at.
In addition they have a humorousness.
After Dabo mocked the lengthy stroll from the visiting locker rooms to the sphere right here at Wallace Wade, it seems that Duke put a bunch of youngsters’s bounce homes in Clemson’s path pic.twitter.com/nEPUQqTacW
— Shawn Krest (@ShawnKrest) September 4, 2023
No. 4: They’re every part Duke basketball isn’t
That is the place the rubber meets the highway. Duke basketball is a multi-decade juggernaut that confirmed no indicators of dropping off even after Coach Ok retired. They’re nonetheless nice, we’ll nonetheless root for them to be bounced within the second spherical, as a result of Duke basketball followers all the time have the expectation they’ll dominate by “taking part in the precise method.”
Duke soccer doesn’t have that historic baggage. They don’t have a scholar part of self-described “crazies” who let free like a enterprise capitalist at Burning Man. They may be the identical followers, however there’s one thing essentially much less obnoxious about Duke followers once they’re screaming into an open soccer area than the confines of Cameron Indoor.
Which may change. Duke soccer is actually good, and might be a official sleeper choose to win the ACC this 12 months. For now they’re nonetheless the plucky underdog on the come-up, and it’s okay to like them … for now.