Monday, March 06, 2006

I'm a Tarheel, I guess

Let me start this post with a picture that I lifted from TripJax. If he minds, I imagine that he will leave me a post telling me so or he'll just come to Charlotte and kick my ass, but it is just too much fun not to share:

So that make’s me a Tarheel fan, right? Maybe not.

My relationship with my alma mater has always been a strained one at best. I spent a full four years in Chapel Hill. I received the most confusing degree in education history from UNC, RTVMP. You don't know what that is unless you went to school there, and even then you had to be paying attention to pick that initialization up. It stands for Radio, TV, and Motion Pictures. Hell, I went back to school four years later just to not have to explain RTVMP every time I spoke about college. Now I just say Mass Media and life if simpler.

I had my fun while there. I managed to cause a couple of campus-wide arguments. I'm sure that nobody that knows me today could believe that (cough, cough). The best was when the football players all got air conditioners for their dorm rooms. I don't know how things are today, but back then you were allowed to RENT an air conditioners from Student Health Services IF, and ONLY IF, you had a prescription from your doctor.

I think it was when we returned to school my junior year (1981) when each football player's room suddently had AC. I lived in the dorm with the players, so it was real obvious and the injustice of it ticked me off. So I did the American thing, I wrote a smart-assed letter to the editor of the campus news paper, "The Daily Tarheel."

They printed it.

Oops. I didn't plan that far ahead.

Well, the next thing you know I'm getting not-so-vaguely threatening phone calls at night and notes from my friends on my door asking if they can have my stuff when I'm gone. Dan Dunn would call me AC to this day were we to meet. I still have the letter from John Swofford (now the commissioner of the ACC (Air Conditioner Conference?), who was the Athletic Director, explaining how none of my student fees were paying for the AC and how they would be removed by October. Last time I was on campus, those AC units were still there. (No, he didn't say October of what year.)

There was another minor issue with the girl’s basketball team and how their sport, like mine (track) would never be as popular at the men's basketball team. If you will notice, they are still pissed about that letter and are kicking butt just to try to prove me wrong.

So as you can see, I had my fun at UNC. I also drank lots of beer, dated my share of co-eds, played some Rugby, and generally squandered a great opportunity. I know this and paid an additional 2.5 years of school to get a real degree (though I don't use that one either).

While I was at UNC, I crossed paths with a few of the famous athletes. I saw James Worthey naked as me and a buddy were knocking on doors getting autographs for a handicapped child. Jimmy Black was there, too. I literally ran into Lawrence Taylor in the dorm one day, BAM, his chest to my head. Michael Jordan and I dated roommates for about 2 weeks. Michael must have really liked her to have stuck around that long.

But the man who left the best impression on me was Matt Doherty. Matt was friendly, unassuming, and a damn good basketball player. He roomed with a fellow, Steve, that I had a TV production class with. We would go over to Steve's apartment to work on projects and Matt would hang out just like one of the guys. He always said hello on campus and conducted himself as someone much less important than he really was.

I was thrilled when he did a great job of coaching at Notre Dame, even though I can't stand the school's athletic program. I was even more thrilled when he became the head coach at UNC. Matt brought in all of the players that took Carolina to the national championship last year. I firmly believe, without any inside knowledge to back this up, that if Roy Williams had remained happy at Kansas, that Matt would still be the coach at UNC and that they would still have been national champs last year. He would have been a good coach for the school for the next 30 or 40 years.

I think what happened is that some powerful Ram'sclubbers found out that Roy was unhappy with his new AD at Kansas and available. Then someone started a smear campaign against Matt. They were aided by injuries to most of the best players that led to a poor year record-wise. I mean, what school is going to listen to the complaints of its freshmen players (who it was obvious then that they would not be in school for four years) and fire its young talented head coach. And what do you know, Roy Williams just happens to be available?!?!!?

I was so freaking mad, I felt "that this situation absolutely require[d] a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."(Animal House (1978)) So, for the remainder of the playing days of "those freshmen," I made the most horrific symbolic gesture of protest that I could imagine: I became a Duke fan. Yes, D-U-K-E. I wore the t-shirt to the gym. I wore the hat to work, and I cheered for the boys on Coach K Court. I would have cheered for the Iranians over the heels, though I was glad that they won the championship as it got "those freshmen" out of my school.

So now I'm back. I love the job Roy has done with the young guys this year. It has been fun to be winning as an underdog, and the Dook game... well, it just doesn't get any sweeter.

So you go boys. I'm behind you all the way, just be decent people and remember, sometimes you don't have to do much to make an impression on people to get their loyalty.