As I write, it is a balmy 25 degrees, wind chill 16, in northeastern North Carolina. The sun is shining and there is a brilliant blue sky overhead. And, yes I am amazed. Why is there a blue sky overhead? How can it be so? You see, the Tar Heels fell on their sword last night down in Charleston, SC in trying to be nice to an old friend in Bobby Cremins.
Cremins used to hang out at Georgia Tech but now coaches at the College of Charleston. Yesterday’s Raleigh paper had a nice article about Cremins and the game, adding that there was no chance Cremins team could win last night. Shoulda seen it coming after that. Carolina had 2 starters out with injuries and their guards ended up shooting percentages equal to today’s temps.
Yes, there were late game snafus, a miracle shot at the end of regulation, etc that should have never mattered. Did I forget to mention the 11 point lead that vanished in the last 4 minutes? How could I forget that?
I could wax eloquent and wonder what fate will befall us when the games arrive versus Duke (ugh) and others. Will there be an ACC victory this season- sure- How many- good question.
One last aside. On my Tar Heel collectible shelf, there stands a soft drink bottle commemorating the 1982 National Championship. It fell off the shelf today, all by itself. Must have been in shock.
Things will improve, right? And probably even before next season, right? Well, there is always last year to remember!
Nothing like a good mixed metaphor, is there not? Last night in Chapel Hill, 21,750 fortunate folks got to see some basketball royalty. There was a Carolina alumni game to start the 100th season of Tar Heel hoops. They actually kept score and the Blue team beat the White team or vice versa. That is strictly a side issue. The fact that the game was played is a testament to the family that is Carolina basketball. The current keeper of the flame and instigator of the marvelous idea for the game is of course Roy Williams. The godfather would have to be Dean Smith who alongwith Michael( New Naismith Hall of Fame member) Jordan got the loudest ovations of the night and deservedly so.
You had NBA coaches George Karl and John Kuester coaching the respective squads and Carlina Panther Julius Peppers who was in a basketball uniform but did not play.
Coach Williams said, “In my opinion, there’s no place in the country that could’ve don what we just did.” Viewing it through a Carolina Blue filter, I will of course agree. Of course, unveiling the 2009 national Championship banner was pretty cool as was the addition of Jordan’s name to those Tar Heels already enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
And you have to feel good that the game proceeds which were significant went to the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center and the UNCChildren’sHospital. ESPN deigned to show grief highlights this am with a Vince Carter dunk being featured. Thanks to UNC alum Stuart Scott for getting that 100th season mention in there. Sure, basketball season has not officially started yet, but……..
Oh yes, the top ranked women’s soccer team won at Notre Dame yesterday and that too is cause to celebrate.Oh, some guy named Hansbrough was also in the building. Not a bad day to be a Heels fan.
Even a nominal sports fan has heard of Florida QB Tim Tebow. The young man has a Heisman Trophy from 2007 and has led Florida to 2 national titles. If you have ever watched him play, he is more like a fullback than a QB. Of course, at 6ft 3in and 240 pounds he is well equipped to be the battering ram type player. Whether or not it translates to pro football stardom remains to be seen, since he does not play an NFL style game.
But somehow I don’t think he minds a whole lot. His story is rather well known, son of a missionary to the Philippines, who survived a potentially life threatening birth to become a star athlete. But I like his non football side even more. His dad considered him a miracle baby since had prayed diligently for a preacher. Although God gave him a quarterback, he could very well end up being both a preacher and a quarterback. He makes mission trips to the Philippines and elsewhere and has an active and somewhat effective prison ministry. Perfect? Of course not and makes no claim to be. A good representative of his school and college sports in general, to be sure. After all, the cover article in last week’s Sports Illustrated by Austin Murphy had very little in the way of negatives.
Here is what I find interesting . One of the blogs that i read regularly is Get Religion. Their focus is on how religion and religious topics are treated in the media, for good or bad. Their post on the SI article wasn’t bad although they noted that more critical questions could have been asked and that it was almost a fawning piece. Some of the comments I read made a similar point. True, the article was overwhelmingly complimentary, but so what? All too often, both college and pro sports stars make off the field news for other reasons. (Fill in your own choices here. ) And interestingly enough, if the “bad boy” in question produces results on the court or field and draws fans, i.e. makes the team money, this boorish behaviour or worse is often overlooked.
So, here we have an All American QB at a famous party school who writes scripture verses in his eye black- a problem, not for me. Guess I won’t have a problem if Florida has a successful season, unless they beat the Tar Heels in the national championship game. I would have to draw the line there.
“Across the field the foe has fled, has fled
Cheer the team to victory
For we are Tar Heels born and bred
Glory, glory UNC
Our hearts will live with thee, with thee
Fight, fight, fight
The Blue and White
Are rolling to victory”
And so they did on Monday night in Detroit, deserving the accolades that were bestowed upon them. Many words have already been written, more will follow; magazine articles, books and the like. All will seek to tell in one way or another the story of the Tar Heels fifth national title. Let’s just call them champions! Coach Roy Williams and Tyler Hansbrough in celebratory form.(Photo by Andy Lyons/GettyImages)
How bout them Heels!!!!!!!!!!!!
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.
Thanks to Snoopy for that expressive title. It is really all I needed to describe my angst after the Heels blew not one but two leads yesterday and fell in overtime to Maryland. Headlines using the phrase shock or upset describe my reaction very well. I read on line articles from several sources and the more I read the less fun it was. The AP photo below shows a Maryland player, Grevis Vasquez, who had a career game,shooting over our Danny Green.This seemed as good a reflection of the outcome as any.
But as I knew it would,the world as a whole says so what. As Dean Smith once told his son after a Carolina loss, a billion people on the other side of the world really could care less. I konw that is true and sometimes on rare occasions such as this, I wish that I didn’t care,but 50 year habits are hard to change, especially when one doesn’t really want to change.
So,the top ranked baseball team won twice, the women’s swimming and diving team came in second at the ACC Championships and Tar Heel freshman Layne Brodie had a great meet.All is not bleak in Tarheelia.
We will be back in the round ball wars. Let the games continue.
GO HEELS !!
The above picture expands a bit on my title and indicates that it is definitely a compliment of the highest order . It might have been Coach Smith who said that he coached at a soccer school . While that was a bit overstated , kudos are in order for the Tar Heel women who won their 19th NCAA soccer championship in the 27 year history of the event . For the first , the Heels were slight underdogs against both UCLA and Notre Dame and yet emerged with 2 close wins .
Casey Nogueira was MVP of the championships , scoring twice against the Fighting Irish . Interesting tidbit , her expressed goal before attending Carolina was to win an NCAA championship, she and her teammates won 2 .
Another UNC stalwart was Yael Auerbach, senior leader who played 107 games in her college career . She was also on the all tournament team along with Brittani Bartok, Whitney Engen , and Tobin Heath .
Hearty congratulations to the entire squad along with Coach Dorrance and the entire staff. Dont forget to buy a celebratory t-shirt .
Suppose these folks can be remembered a bit along with a few names from previous years like Mia Hamm , Kristine Lily, Heather O’Reilly , Tisha Venturini and Cindy Parlow ? Shucks , just get the media guide .
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 !!
Admittedly , the above is a slightly misleading title in that the subject in question is not a person but a thing , kinda, sorta . Oh okay , I’m talking sports and for those who know me more than a little , the first love has to be UNC related and so it is . I thought it appropriate since football is heading down the home stretch, women’s soccer is poised for a strong finish and a highly touted basketball team starts play on November 15th . Plus , we are anticipating going to our first football game in several years and will be enjoying it with the other tarheel fanatics in our family, my youngest sister and her husband , obviously also very intelligent people . I have been asked numerous times over the years how I could attend Appalachian State and still remain a diehard Carolina fan .
Well, my connection with the Apps began in 1970 while my Carolina ties beagn as early as 1958 or 59 , generally speaking forever . That connection has even survived a stint in Georgia bulldog country so it is somewhat well entrenched . It is rather interesting that of all the sports teams that I latched onto as a kid, all the other attachments have faded, some to the point of near non- existence . Oh well, as a famous song says, ” Tar Heel born and Tar Heel bred and when I die I’m a Tar Heel dead . “
GO HEELS !!
Believe it or not , the football Heels are now an amazing 2 and 0 for the first time in the new millenium .I am afraid to write that almost much less say it . Suffice to say that this post is a bit dated . As is so typical of Tar Heel football, there have been moments of euphoria and times of crushing disappointment . Suprisingly, the former outweigh the latter by a large margin . So, our beloved Heels now stand 4 up and 1 down with 2 road wins and a top 25 ranking ( first time since 2001 ) of a lofty #22 . And, doing it with a young man, Cam Sexton, who started out third string . What is so coool is the ways in w hich they have succeeded. All three quarterbacks have played and contributed , 3 blocked punts in one game, a very opportunistic defense and great team speed. The last factor may be the key since in the college game, speed can cover mistakes, make bad plays good and good plays great . So, Tar Heel fans, let us enjoy and hope the ride continues. Meanwhile, hats off to Marvin Austin, Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks, Shawn Draugn and Bruce Carter and Coach Davis and the staff . GO HEELS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to be forgotten, hurry back T J Yates .
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