As a North Carolinian outside the south, the question I get asked most often (besides “what is a grit?”) is “what is a tar heel?” For clarification, a the phrase “tarheel” has a lot of mystery surrounding it. Some say that it was originated by Robert E. Lee himself. The story goes that North Carolina troops during the civil war were upset with those (damn) Virginians for deserting them in an important fight. Later, the Virginians asked, mockingly, whether there was any tar left in the Old North State (the eastern part of the state is pretty tar heavy), and the good old boys replied “no, we’re planning on using it on your feet to make you stick better in the next fight.” General Lee, hearing of this, declared “God Bless them Tar Heel boys.” And the nickname stuck.
A favorite diddy in North Carolina is “I’m a Tar Heel born, I’m a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’ll be a Tar Heel dead.” This is the fight song for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. You may have noticed that tomorrow they’ll be playing in the championship game of the NCAA tournament. Like the diddy says, I am a Tar Heel born (though I was unfortunately born at Duke Hospital- consequence of living in Durham), and a Tar Heel bred. Cheering for Carolina basketball is something ingrained in my DNA. My father’s father, Ken, played on the 1957 Championship team, and later coached with Dean Smith. I grew up in a world where two things were always true- we loved Carolina and hated Duke.
As far as hating Duke is concerned, it’s more of a reflex at this point than anything else. Some people don’t understand that on the Tobacco Trail, nothing is more important than your basketball allegiance. There’s a really funny David Sedaris story about how his speech teacher got him to reveal his speaking impediment by asking him who he rooted for. He made the mistake of admitting that he was a State fan. I remember one day, during high school, I wore my Carolina sweater to school the day after Duke had pummeled Carolina (the Dougherty years were sad ones). I am not a fairweather fan, so I wore my sweater to show my pure love for that team. My TEACHER made a snarky remark to me about it. I could never take her class seriously again.
Tar Heel Margaritas
Source: Cocktail Times
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce blue curacao (pronounced cure-a-saow)
1 ounce lime juice
1 tbsp sugar, for rim
Wet the rim of your glass and dip in sugar. In another glass, mix alcohol with ice, serve.
Makes one drink.