This time around, it’s Chapel Hill that will have to make good on a friendly wager its mayor made with the mayor of Durham before Saturday’s Duke-UNC basketball showdown, the Battle of the Blues II.
For the first Duke-UNC matchup in February, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau made a friendly bet: The losing team’s town would have to write the winning team’s town a commemorative poem. Duke lost that first game and the DCVB wrote a poem honoring UNC and Chapel Hill.
During their second meeting, March 3, Duke took home the prize. Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger bet Durham Mayor Steve Schewel that the losing town’s mayor would have to wear the shade of blue of the opposing team — Duke blue for a Blue Devil win, Carolina blue for a Tar Heel win.
For those not indoctrinated in Tar Heel basketball dogma, the reference is to the lighter Carolina blue and the darker Duke blue. The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau posted the latest bet in its newsletter. “We look forward to seeing her (Hemminger’s) outfit choice this evening,” the newsletter stated.
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The Chapel Hill Town Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. Hemminger will wear Duke blue at the beginning of the meeting, said Jeanne Brown, aide to the mayor. Hemminger has had wagers with previous Durham mayors during the Final Four. This year is the first time the bet has extended to the regular season, Brown said. The bets have proven "a good way to have fun with our neighbors," she said.
Schewel remembers that his predecessor, Bill Bell, once had to wear a Carolina blue hat and shirt during an entire City Council meeting after a Duke-UNC meeting, “much to his chagrin.” Schewel said he plans to try and see Hemminger presiding over Chapel Hill’s Town Council “and enjoy the spectacle of my good friend Mayor Hemminger wearing the dark blue.”
He also plans to continue the friendly basketball rivalry. The Dean Dome fans are known as a wine-and-cheese crowd, Schewel said. Next year, he would like to up the ante: Durham Locopops vs. wine and cheese.
Cliff Bellamy; 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1