I may have to become a Duke fan

If you grew up in North Carolina, you were most likely born into an allegiance to Carolina (UNC-CH) or Duke.  I was born into the former of the two.  I know all of the catchy Carolina cheers and I have been taught over the years to lovingly hate all things Duke.  I even have an innate aversion to the Duke blue color.  Carolina blue is just much more pleasing to the eye. :)

Well, I am slowly losing my steadfast loyalty to Carolina.  After moving to Durham, I was adamant that I would never become a Duke fan and I would certainly never let my child wear anything associated with that awful school!
I am now eating those words.  While I haven't quite given into the Duke blue color, having a few pieces of clothing with the Duke name on them isn't such a bad thing now.

Part of the reason that I am slowly being pulled over to 'the dark side' (dark blue, that is) is the way Duke has treated not only John during his fellowship, but also our family.  His boss and coworkers could not have been nicer, but that is to be expected of any southern town.  It's the people John works with on a daily basis plus the amazing attitude towards family at Duke that has blown me away.

Let me back track a little to when John was still in graduate school and I was pregnant with little miss E...  graduate school was tough cookies and John spent very long hours / weekends / holidays in the lab under a demanding boss.  He was also traveling for interviews with more than a few not-so-nice sounding bosses.  One interviewer was even a little dismissive when he found out that John was married and made it known that he was not too happy with the fact that we were expecting our first child either.  Basically, most people expected John to live and breath science with no family to distract from his research.
Then, he met his amazing boss from Duke!  I was invited along for a second interview dinner and met this sweet man and his beautiful wife.  We had so much in common and talked about things other than science (a welcomed change).  Our daughters (her's was now grown with a child of her own) even had the same due date.  I was in love with the people at Duke and what I thought would be a great work environment for John.  Of course, the fact that this school just so happened to be in our home state didn't hurt either.

Fast forward to February 2011... John had just started working for Duke and Ellington was born.  John had only planned to take a day or so off from work because he had just started. When he showed up at Duke shortly after we brought Elli home, they told him to go home to be with his new baby and were a little shocked to see him back at work so soon.  We were so grateful for the unexpected time off he had to enjoy little E.

Our first few months interacting with people at Duke was incredible, but I was not ready to cheer for Duke yet.  I had just met a few people that John worked with and, although everyone was very sweet, I didn't think that their attitude of friendliness had anything to do with the school as a whole... I was wrong.
Esther (my sister-in-law) with her boyfriend (Brian) and E at this year's Duke football game :)
Duke won me over with the school's pro-family attitude.  A free family football game and dinner for all Duke staff once a year (with fireworks), regular family events within each department throughout the year, amazing health benefits, normal work hours for John (no holidays or crazy late-night hours required)... just to name a few.  I am sure that there are hundreds of other family friendly offers from Duke that I have yet to discover.  
Ellington & John watching the fireworks
So, Go Duke?  Maybe.  Check back next year and I will probably be wearing a Duke blue shirt with my face painted for the next game.  Now, who knows some catchy Duke cheers to teach Ellington?

UPDATE:  John just got back from a seminar for postdoctoral fellows at Duke and they actually advised the postdocs to get a maid for their wife (or husband) to make up for working longer hours once they were hired as faculty!  What?!  Loving Duke more and more...  what other school would give such great advice to their employees?