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KAREN: Timeout to Cheer for Final Four

Hey, Jets fans, Flight Crew Cheerleader Karen here! I don't know about you, but I am anxious to get back on that field and cheer on our boys in green and white! Lucky for me, March Madness is a great way to keep me going during the offseason, and it looks like we're in for quite an exciting, and certainly unexpected, championship game weekend!

This time of the year is always particularly exciting for me. Growing up in Durham, N.C., I was exposed to one of the most storied basketball rivalries at an exceptionally young age. Some consider it to be one of the fiercest matchups in all of sports. The Duke-Carolina basketball rivalry may be just a game between two of the most successful basketball programs in the NCAA, but in my hometown, it's a way of life.

My dad is a diehard UNC fan and Carolina graduate, but my mom will forever be a Duke fan and where I come from, that's what we like to call a "basketball-divided household." My older sister was already a Duke fan, so I'm sure my dad had high hopes for me when I came along.

However, my mom must have launched a pretty convincing campaign, because when it came time for me to choose between the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils, I declared my allegiance to the boys in Duke blue. (Cue all of my UNC friends gasping in shock!) My dad took it with a good heart and at least tried to smile as I paraded around the house in my ridiculous amounts of Duke paraphernalia.

Some of my favorite memories revolve around the Duke-Carolina rivalry, from sneaking out of bed when I was little to watch the big game because it came on past my bedtime (sorry, Mom and Dad!) to walking down the long aisle in beautiful Duke Chapel on my wedding day and marrying a diehard UNC fan and Carolina graduate. Like mother like daughter!

But with time also comes a change of heart. Since graduating from college, getting married and moving to New York City, my ties to Duke are not as strong. But the rivalry still lives on, and you can always find me at Brother Jimmy's in Murray Hill on game day! I'm the girl sitting with all of the UNC fans politely smiling and clapping when Carolina makes a good play, but deep down inside, I'll always be that little girl running around with pompons in her hands and Duke blue ribbons in her hair.

If you're a college basketball fan like me, check out It's my favorite blog for great college basketball coverage. For now, I'm looking forward to watching the final tournament games next weekend, but after that it's full steam ahead and getting ready for Flight Crew auditions in May!

Hope to see all of you next season!



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