I love you, Dad, but…

My favorite childhood photo is of me holding up an Indiana basketball sweatshirt my dad got me for Christmas when I was three. I’m holding it up and smiling a smile larger than I’ve ever smiled since.

The first song I ever learned the words to was the Indiana fight song. I grew up loving Bobby Knight and hating everything about Purdue and anyone who ever even drove past the campus.

This is because my father is IU class of 1976. If you don’t know, the 1976 Hoosiers were the last team to finish an NCAA basketball season undefeated. The best gift I probably ever gave him was a piece of the old playing surface at Assembly Hall — the surface my dad got to watch those ’76 Hoosiers play on when he was in school. He’s since had it signed by Bobby Knight and it hangs on a plaque in my dad’s office.

I tell you all that to tell you (and my dad) this: Indy is going down tonight, baby!

Today, I officially throw off the shackles and the oppression of my dad’s Alma Mater and I say solidly that I hate that sweater Dad gave me as a kid. I’m sure I spilled food all over it repeatedly as a child, maybe I even got sick on it once or twice. Knowing how I was as a kid, I probably lost the darn thing before I could outgrow it. Well, that obviously was foreshadowing. I hate the IU fight song. I’m sure I sang it out of tune all the time as a kid. Well, that was obviously a sign of things to come.

Tonight, the #1 Indiana Hoosiers host the Carolina Tar Heels, a team that can’t be contained by a number assigned by sports writers or coaches. Tonight, in the battle of teams named after things no one can explain, the floorboards of Assembly Hall will become soaked with the blood and lost dignity of the Hoosier basketball squad, and the Tar Heels will come home triumphant.

Dad, I love you, but your boys are going down.

Oh, yeah — also, thanks for coming up to help me paint next week…

 

Helping the community: The college basketball rivalry edition

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that basketball is a game.

That’s especially true when alma mater is involved. To keep perspective on a heated rivalry and give back to the community, the Lexington-area alumni clubs of UNC and UK have agreed to a fun bet on Saturday’s game.

The stakes: community service. The winning team’s alumni club gets to pick an organization/event for which members of both alumni clubs will volunteer together.

Rivalry aside, two of the greatest college basketball traditions in the country face off on Saturday. As far as we’re concerened, the community will be the ultimate winner.

We’re all proud alumni and we wish both of our teams luck on Saturday. But since this is my blog, GO HEELS!

Personality in social media: The college basketball rivalry version

In honor of Saturday’s game between the noble Tar Heels and the evil Wildcats of Kentucky, I would like to comment on something at which the University of Kentucky is really schooling UNC.

A little more than a year ago I wrote a post about a journalist named Lucy Kellaway and her opinion that the somewhat recent trend of personalizing organizations was making it easier for stakeholders to hate corporations when they made mistakes. A really smart social media guy named Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) put up a post not long ago disagreeing, pointing to a study that says, “being human sets thought leaders apart.”

I’m with Mark.

Look, people don’t relate to lawn mowers and they don’t relate to news aggregators; they relate to people. As painful as it is to admit it, the University of Kentucky (@universityofky) has totally figured that out. UNC (@Carolina_News) has not.

Did you take a campus tour at UK? Wondering about the status of your admissions application? Thinking about becoming an organ donor? Tweet about it. UK responds to this kind of stuff every day. Even when I wrote a somewhat antagonizing post about UK last year, @universityofky responded (antagonizingly).

For the university community, in which institutions are competing for the love of 18-year-old applicants and 30-year-old alumni alike, the UK Twitter account is a cool, responsive friend (or rival) with lots of info behind it.

Now look at UNC’s Twitter. First off, good luck finding a link to it on the UNC homepage. The account is a great aggregator of news about the school, but there’s no personality. It’ll tell you UNC men’s soccer made the Elite 8 (congrats) or the results of a new campus study, but there aren’t RT’s from applicants or fans. There’s no playful banter about athletics or food. Even the name is a drawback; it’s not the university itself, it’s news about the university. If you toured the campus, would you feel comfortable tweeting “I toured @Carolina_News today!”? Of course not. It sounds dumb.

More proof? Look at the followers. The schools’ websites show UNC and UK have similar enrollment numbers (UNC-29,000; UK-28,000) but UK’s account has almost twice as many followers (12,235 to UNC’s 6,708 as of Dec. 1).

Perhaps the most damning proof: me (sorry). My UK alumni friends would be glad to tell you I’m one of the biggest haters out there. I’m not a UK fan, I’m not a Calipari fan, but I do follow @universityofky. It’s entertaining. Sure, you may argue that I’m following UK because I live near it, but I live closer to Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College and I’m not following them.

People appreciate the fun that comes with following an account like @universityofky and I think other schools, including UNC (of which I am an alumnus), could learn something from the way UK rolls on Twitter.

Now, let’s just hope UNC rolls over UK in basketball on Saturday. Go Heels!