Unknown to me, there is actually a company by the above name. My article will not deal with them but rather with an interesting concept in sports television that began in 1957. As Heels fans know, that was a glorious year for the basketball guys. Led by Lennie Rosenbluth and Coach Frank McGuire, Carolina went 32-0, winning the first NCAA championship for the program (no, I didn’t forget the undefeated champs of 1924) by beating Kansas in a fabulous three overtime thriller.
As might be expected, interest in the 1957 team grew dramatically as the victories piled up. Woolen Gym(built in 1937) held about 5000 people and was packed to the rafters game after game. As the Duke game approached on February 9, interest was intensifying. UNC President William Friday and advertising executive Billy Carmichael came up with a unique plan to televise the game, but nothing like that which exists today. Working in tandem with WUNC public television, the plan they devised was ingenious.
There were obstacles to televising sports in those days, from the teams and from radio stations among others. What would happen to ticket sales, would anyone even care to go if they could see a game for free? The plan called for televising the game as it happened, no play-by-play, no commercials etc. You watched it as a fan who wa sathere and listened to the radio if you so chose. Voila! It worked. As a youngster, I remember it well and for me, it was as if I were there. For all I knew, it might be as close as I would ever get to a game in person. It was great. Many times since then , I have turned down the television and listened to Woody Durham and his predecessor, Bill( The Mouth of the South) Currie.
Woolen is still there, next to Carmichael which would succeed it in 1965. The Smith Center would arrive on the scene in 1986. I was privileged to watch a game or two in Carmichael and it was great indeed. I can only imagine how it was in Woolen Gym and its predecessor, The Tin Can which dates back to the 1920′s.
Broadvision, we salute you and those innovators who made it happen. For Carolina fans and others, you launched us on a magical journey.
The “malady” in question would be March Madness, a very common affliction in my part of the world wherever that happens to be.Yes, it is that glorious time of year when college basketball steps front and center. Besides, it is much better than the Ides of March, don’t you think?
For the uninitiated, March Madness primarily refers to the 65 team national tournament that will officially begin next Wednesday. Conference tournaments have been going on this week and will conclude Sunday. They serve as both a prelude to The Big Dance and a partial setting of the field.
The only team that really matters to me began its quest today with a tough conference tournamnet game against Virginia Tech. Although, one always wwants to win, this was nota gane that Carolina had to have. As scheduling would have it, they began play at noon, a gane that would play out in its entitery while I was at work, unable to watch or listen.
My wife, who is the sane Carolina fan in our family as opposed to me, who isn’t; agreed to keep me posted. She called at the half, reported a one point Heels lead, and gave a very good summary of the game to that point. The next call came with 22 seconds to go, still a one point lead. Again, she did an excellent job of setting the stage and giving me a play by play account of the final nerve racking seconds of a three point win.
As Adam Lucas of tarheelblue.com said, it was a game that Carolina should not have won, but still did. A four part sign held up in the Georgia Dome said “House United Against Carolina” and as per usual it was. But that is just one of those things that makes these games what they are. These fellows enjoyed the first game as did I and we all three hope there are eight more to go.
Go Heels !!!!
Wouldnt that have been a good combo on the basketball court, especially in the Four Corners . Since that cannot happen , it is an apropos passing of the torch on the Carolina scoring list , from Phil Ford to Tyler Hansbrough . Congratulations to Tyler . It was pretty cool for his parents to ” surprise ” him and make it to the game .
As some people alluded to , Ford has held the record since 1978 , when he passed the total of Carolina’s first 2000 point scorer , Lennie Rosenbluth who long time Heels fans will remember as the star of the undefeated 1957 national championship team .
So I started thinking, wonder whose record that Rosenbluth broke . As best as I can tell, it was a 6-2 guard from Elizabeth , NJ named Al Lifson who interestingly enough was #12 just like Phil Ford . Lifson played from 1952-55 and his Carolina teams were not all that successful . I hesitate to go back further, aw shucks, why not ? I think John ” Hook ” Dillon preceded Lifson and that is probably enough history for even the most avid Heels fan .
So as we celebrate Tyler , dont forget Phil and Lennie and Al and ‘” Hook ” , for in this the 99th year of Carolina basketball we have quite a tradition.
GO HEELS !!!
I knew I should have done it sooner . i should have written this on November 8, no matter how late I got home . Then the sense of euphoria would have still been present . But now, a scant 15 days later , the euphoria has departed, has been probably ran under the bed and hidden , afraid to emerge lest it be bashed once again into submission.
On November 8 , my wife and I met my youngest sister and her husband in Chapel Hill for our first Tar Heel football game in more than a decade . The day began early and ominously with rain and clouds for much of our westward trek . But miraculously , blue skies appeared near Orange County ( if God’s not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina Blue ? Sorry, couldnt resist ? ) and the weather cooperated the rest of the day .
Thanks to my brother-in-law , A UNC grad , the logistics to the stadium as well as our seats were flawless .Both my wife and I love the atmosphere of college football in Chapel Hill . The band , the cheerleaders, the message boards ( really cool ) the Famous Rameses XXII ( not sure about the number ) mascot with his tasteful blue horns , the food, the pregame , halftime etc . Oh yes the game was excellent, a 28-7 Carolina win over Georgia Tech .
One thing surprised me a bit , I found myself a bit overcome with emotion during the pregame buildup but finally decided that was ok . Ah, postgame , the alma mater and the cup collecting were highlights. Cannot wait till next year .
Being an unfortunate pessimist particularly when it come to Carolina football, we arrive at part deux . The very next gane , the Heels were poised for a big road win that would have put them into position for a shot at the ACC championship which they have havent won since 1980 . Alas and alack , a late field doomed that and brought back my sense of limited predicting . I think that in the course of a Carolina game i can often tell the outcome, usually a loss. My wife thinks this is bunch of hooey but I doubt it.
Anyway, yesterday , another golden opportunity , Senior Day against an archrival from Wake County . we were favored and so what happens, an early Thanksgiving, the Heels turned the game into a turkey shoot for the opposition and lost big . Oh well, one more game and then a low level bowl game when it could have been so much more . Hang in there fellows , next year will be better . Besides the women’s soccer team is still on the march !!
My thanks to Charles Schulz and the famous Snoopy for the above title idea . As those who follow college football and Carolina in particular , there was yet another excruciating loss in Charlottesville yesterday . I have read that maybe this one was the worst, being in overtime after the Heels led for 58 of 60 minutes . Perhaps it was but that’s sorta like saying one migraine or one root canal is worse than another . Being a bit of a pessimist when Tar Heel football is concerned ( I know , stoopid ) I cannot say I was surprised but disappointed nonetheless . I can only imagine how the players, especially the seniors must have felt . Linebacker Mark Paschal is one of the team’s defensive leaders . Irony of ironies , his father Doug played in the 1981 game, the last win at Virginia . Cheer up, Heels fans, still only one win away from being bowl eligible- dont worry- it will come , I think, no it will wont it ? – against Boston College or Georgia Tech, right ?
Well Heels fans , we should be very happy about now . An exhilirating win last Saturday over Notre Dame ” vaulting ” the team to as high as 18th in the polls . I am a Heels football fan of long standing remembering a 50- 0 win over that team from Durham in the late 1950′s ( man that sounds ancient ) but also being plagued with another memory . This one only goes back to 1981 . Carolina had a stellar running back named Kelvin Bryant or KB . He was one of the best to play tailback for the Heels, scoring 6 touchdowns in a game that season , He was on pace to set all sorts of individual records . At the time , I lived in Georgia but was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the Carolina – Georgia Tech game in Atlanta . If memory serves me correctly, I remember Bryant breaking loose for a potential td run down the far sideline when a Tech player dived at him, I think clipping his knee. It was an innocuous looking play until he didnt get up. Long story short, he had a serious knee injury and a magical season ended . Thankfully for him he recovered and had a short but productive pro career . Now the pessimist fan returns to bemoan the injury to Brandon Tate , another player having a once in a lifetime season ( Tate in 08 ) Our condolences and best wishes for a complete recovery to a hard working young man who I hope has much football success in his future . But this week brings a trip to Thomas Jefferson U where the guys in light blue havent won in a gazillon years . Time for history to change ?
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