…After powerwashing off the stench of “signing day” it is refreshing to be immersed in a few of the “positive aspects” of sports… The Super Bowl was fine with no jackasses in the spotlight… There is “a rest of the story” on godaddy… I’ve been wanting to talk about ESPN’s Cold Pizza so today I will… Carolina vs Duke in The Cameron Cauldron of Hell – THE BEST show in college basketball circa 2005 is locked, loaded and ready to rumble!
We’ll lead off with Carolina vs Duke in Cameron. This “ultimate game” takes place every year. Ol’ Roy is now fully unpacked so it’s “as good as it gets for college basketball”. One can only hope that the kids on both teams realize what a very special event this is.Both teams top-ranked and used to “big games”. Both coaches are big game veterans who understand “center stage”.
Its only February 9 so nothing will be decided except a winner of this one game. I hope you have have had an opportunity to bathe in the moment of such an event. I have been so fortunate on several occasions over the years.
One such was in high school. We were a bona fide basketball “juggernaut” … 51-1 with back-back state titles my Jr and Sr years. Our #1 rival in the whole state was in our own conference just 35 miles away … not unlike those 8 miles of 15-501. Our senior year the first meeting of #1 and #2 was in our gym. The tip—off was 8:00 but the doors opened at 4:00 and the fire marshals said “that’s enough” by 5:30. Both towns followed their team with “fervor”. Our gym was built on top of a hill and neighbors swore the roof appeared to lift off when the teams were introduced that night.
The JVs got to play in front of a packed house (albeit “only 2,000” but everything is relative). When the two varsities came out for warm-ups you could not hear your own thoughts and it stayed that way until we took control of the game. They were “good” and had a dominant big man but we were the consummate fundamentally sound “team” with the high school equivalent of Ye Olde Legend, Paul E. Jones (Smith and Jones … common names for very uncommon men!) at the helm. We won that night to keep a streak alive that eventually reached 47 before we went “to their place” a month later.
Our win streak ended in another jam-packed gym on almost an exact version of Laettner’s miracle shot vs Kentucky. Time for one play, ¾ court in-bounds pass, catch-spin-shoot –GOOD! A group of fine young men tasted “the agony of defeat” that Friday night long ago. Not to worry … we rallied and won the State Championship two weeks later beating that same team. I recall a number of those games, including the time we completely shut out a team in the first quarter; but, the ones that still give me a tingle were the two jam-packed gyms against our biggest rival.
Former Carolina and Duke players always recall these regular season home/home contests. Both teams are assured of post-season play so little is at stake except bragging rights along 15-501. That will be the case Wednesday night. It’s on national TV but that’s expected for any kid who signs with Duke or Carolina. It’s not the basketball fans in Des Moines, Bakersfield, or Tulsa that matter … it’s you and your teammates and that hostile crowd.
Yes, going into LJVMC and to the RBC is fun; but Carolina going into the Hot Hell of Cameron is another level of intensity. A national finals in some huge dome is certainly a thrill but this is just “different”. Marvin Williams has no idea what’s in store for him. For seniors it’s the last time and maybe for any 3 and out guys. Wherever their basketball road leads, nothing will ever be quite the same as “going into Cameron”. Do ya think Rashad just MIGHT see a few “throat slashes” from the crazies … maybe 1 or 2…
We know it’s a shame to waste youth on the young. With all due respect to wedding days, child birthings, opening a business, being a CEO, getting published, et al. Being a 19-20 year old kid wearing a Carolina basketball uniform and running out onto Coach K Court into that atmosphere. Soak it all in boys, cause “sports” doesn’t get any better than that. Hell, not too much in life will match that tingle.
If you haven’t seen Cold Pizza on ESPN I recommend it. It’s a sports Today Show without a fat weather man. Mark Shapiro, ESPN’s boy programming whizbang dreamed this one up and he’s finally worked the kinks out.
It comes on from 8-10 AM Mon-Fri and is repeated on all the various ESPN 1, 2, Classic, HD, ESPN Special Victims Unit, and ESPN-Las Vegas Playing Poker With The Apprentice. I didn’t say everything Boy Wonder Shapiro did “works” but I do like Cold Pizza.
The premise is a Today Show ensemble of attractive hosts on a living room warehouse set. It’s fast-paced and reasonably hip but not as “hip” thankfully as it tried to be in the beginning. Of course it has a Tar Heel right in the middle … a bouncy little fuzzball named Kit Hoover who did her Franklin Street thingie probably in the early 90s I’m guessing. Kit downs a dozen or so high octane expressos just before showtime and spends two hours bouncing off the studio walls and flirting with the various B-level ex-jocks who parade through.
Thankfully, unlike fellow UNC-ESPNer Stuart Scott, Kit does not effect a faux urban hip hop persona. She only runs into trouble if she has one too many of those expressos and goes into bouncy perky overdrive. Someone other than me must have figured that out as Kit has simmered down to quite acceptable levels of perky these days. BobLee likes Kit now.
Thea Andrews, the non-elfin eye candy among the two host-ettes, usually does the balls and strikes interviews and Kit handles the “who was your favorite Bond girl” questions. Thea kinda looks like Nikki Cappelli the godaddy girl. I get the vibes that Thea is a uber-feminist and would resent such a comparison.
… The “Ken” among the two “Barbies” is Jay Campbell. Jay was discovered at a Tampa affiliate and can best be described as Kirk Herbsteit without the real jock resume. He knows his sports and lets his guests have the best lines. It’s impossible to not like Jay.
The show has added a daily segment with itinerate sportswriters Woody Paige and Skip Bayless. Woody and Skip play Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon with Jay refereeing. Woody is Lou Costello and Skip plays Bud Abbott. Both of them have seen most all of the current big name sports figures nekkid so their observations have merit. Woody tries too hard to be “Robin Williams talks sports” and Skip just needs better zingers. I like their segment but get the feeling that one day I’m not going to any more and I’ll know when that day comes. They are infinitely BETTER than I, Max on Fox Sports. Kit Hoover reading the back of cereal boxes is better than I, Max on Fox Sports.
If you haven’t caught Cold Pizza, catch it. Yes, I would be a dynamite addition but I’m not moving to NYC.
The GoDaddy commercial was suppose to run twice but the NFL and Fox zapped the 2nd one. Fellas, really. Don’t tell me they don’t preview these things in advance now. It was fine, it was funny, and did not represent a threat to the rapidly eroding moral fiber of America. I watch Ye Olde moral fiber of America quite closely. Nikki Cappelli’s broken strap did not give Aunt Gertrude a case of the vapors.
Ann Coulter did a harangue about how “dumb” it was. Ann, I love you girl, but Football is Dumb! The whole premise of millions watching and shelling out many millions to watch any inane sports event is DUMB. There is a reason that John McLaughlin and William Buckley don’t do the play by play and its not called Masterpiece Theater. Sports Bars don’t have linen table cloths and one can eat anything on a Sports Bar menu without the need for cutlery including the cole slaw.
I knew a guy at Carolina named Marion “The Barbarian” Barnes who ate jello with his hands and this was 20 years before Animal House.
Hey, remember my question about the on-field crowd for Paul McCartney. I WAS RIGHT! It was Jax-ville area students assembled just for that crowd scene. Many likely clueless who he was.
Lew Alcindor only lost one game in High School .
(1) Name the fabled program that beat Lew Alcindor … AND
(2) Name the former Duke player that played on that team.
At the intersection of Trade & Tryon a high falutin’ corporate attorney
is going “ooh ooh ooh, I know, I know”. He probably does.
BIG NEWS … our favorite food girl Rachael Ray is getting married to her “sweetie, John” this summer in Italy. We wish all the best to the happy couple.
“The OC” is taking some story line twists we are not comfortable with. We may order a boycott of the show soon … stay tuned.
A GREAT column in The Duke Chronicle lampooning Coach K. Apparently Coach K justifies his infamous sideline F-bombs by “contributing to charity” … not sure I see the correlation, Mike. A similar column on Roy in the DTH would go over like a pregnant pole vaulter. Both coaches need to lighten up a bit … they are after all … JUST BASKETBALL COACHES.
The Crawford Cowboy is coming to town on Thursday. Of course, Team Swagger has comp VIP ducats. Talk about Star Power Overload!