I’ve seen some wild shit growing up not too far from the Tobacco Road rivalries.
March Madness in North Carolina is basically a statewide holiday akin to Christmas or Easter, and I remember numerous times in school when teachers rolled in an old box TV on a cart just to watch the games during class time.
Two of the most bitter rivals in all of college basketball are set to square off this weekend as part of the Final Four in the NCAA tournament, as the Duke Blue Devils will face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night to compete for a spot in the national championship game.
And Eric Church, who is an Appalachian State University alumni, but rabid Chapel Hill fan (which is a story for a whole different post), is not going to miss it.
In fact, he flat out canceled his show in San Antonio, Texas, that was part of his Gather Again Tour, saying he will be attending the game with his family instead. And for a guy like Eric, who tours his ass off and has rarely ever missed a show for anything, this is pretty wild.
Of course, a lot of fans were downright pissed off to get the email from Ticketmaster saying it was canceled, calling the move selfish, classless and disrespectful. And I can’t blame them… I would’ve been mad if the Eric concert I went to recently got canceled, too.
But on the other hand, I’m a hardcore fan of a few teams myself, and if I got the chance to go to a once-in-a-lifetime game of this magnitude, I would probably cancel my own funeral to be there.
It’s definitely not the best move to cancel so last-minute when thousands of people made plans to be there for your show, probably with some even coming in from out of town, booking flights, hotels, babysitters and such to be there… while the tickets get refunded, some of those hotels and airfares won’t.
I mean, letting down nearly 20,000 fans? That takes some nerve.
But I suppose you have to give him a little credit for being completely honest with his fans.
Here’s Eric’s full explanation…
“This Saturday, my family and I are going to stand together to cheer on the Tar Heels as the team has made it to the Final Four.
As a lifelong Carolina basketball fan, I’ve watched Carolina and Duke battle over the years but to have them matchup in the Final Four for the first time in history of the NCAA Tournament is any sports enthusiast dream.
This is also the most selfish thing I’ve ever asked the Choir to do: to give up your Saturday night plans with us so that I can have this moment with my family and sports community. However, it’s that same type of passion felt by the people who fill the seats at our concerts that makes us want to be part of a crowd at a game of this significance.
Woody Durham always said, ‘Go where you go and do what you do,’ thanks for letting me go here and be with the Tar Heels.'”
Needless to say, fans are not happy…
And honestly, I’m in the minority in my home state, because I’m neither a Tar Heel nor a Blue Devil (Go Mountaineers), but I can tell you that if I had to pick, I’m going with Duke.
Which I actually did, because I have them winning it all in our Whiskey Riff bracket, and I also somehow predicted that these two teams would face off in the Final Four for the first time ever. I’ll admit, that was more of a completely lucky guess than anything, so I should probably go buy a lottery ticket now, right?
Like I said, we take March Madness really seriously in North Carolina. I mean, it’s Coach K’s last season, and quite frankly, I’m really into the whole storybook ending thing. And honestly, I cannot stand Carolina fans, so I’d love nothing more than to watch them lose to Duke in the Final Four and have Coach K get the better of them one more time.
Something tells me that, while it doesn’t sound like Eric has any plans to reschedule the show in the near future, he’ll make it up to his Texas fans in San Antonio in a big way as soon as he can…. hopefully it’s after he’s done wiping away his tears from a Chapel Hill loss.
It’ll be “Quttin’ Time” a little bit early for Chief this weekend…