January17/ 2000

… The final outcome of games rarely bothers me.  I don’t gamble my self-esteem on whatever scoreboards say at the end.  Except for the “Ice Bowl” in 1967 … I was a Cowboy fan then and now I’m a Peyton fan in 2005.  #18 “got weathered” again yesterday.  … PLUS an EXCLUSIVE announcement about Carolina Football… Charles Kuralt was right…. “It’s not the well, or the bell, or the wall” … IT’S really… … ….

   There is a great line in the state song for North Carolina … “Thou the scorners may sneer at and whitlings defame her, still our hearts swells with gladness whenever we name her …”  I’ve never met a “whitling” that I was aware of, but I’ve seen their work.  These are the put-downers and “yes, but” geeks that refuse to give anyone credit for anything.  You know the breed …

   No matter what the topic of discussion, the “whitling” feels compelled to tag on a “yes, but” to try and belittle the accomplishment.  

  • “Dean Smith was a terrific coach” … “YES BUT he only won two National Championships.”
  • “John Wooden won 10 National Championships” … “YES BUT there were only 16 teams in the tournament back then.”
  • “Babe Ruth hit a lot of home runs” … “YES BUT that short porch in right field gave him an unfair advantage over Mario Mendoza.
  • “Lance Armstrong has won 6 Tour de Frances” … YES BUT the bikes are better, Sheryl Crow is his girlfriend and those yellow bracelets help him somehow.
  • “Peyton Manning set some amazing QB records and he is a really great guy” … YES BUT he has never even played in a Super Bowl.  Trent Dilfer and Mark Rypien have more rings than Peyton.

   No one is elevating Peyton to the celestial ranks of “greatest NFL QBs EVER” but he is compiling a nice resume for when he fills out his application in another 6-8 years.  I wish he could get that “led his team to a Super Bowl” credit out of the way.  

   My favorite NFL quote guy Oren “Bum” Phillips said “the road to the Super Bowl goes thru Three Rivers Stadium”.  His Earl Campbell Oiler teams could never get thru that “Steel” door.  Now Peyton has a similar obstacle in Foxboro.  Bill Bellichek, Tom Brady and Old Man Winter denied him once again.  Peyton is still young and he’s come much close already than his dad ever did.

   I was really looking forward to this game.  When the telecast began and I saw the snow falling and Patriot fans huddled under blankets and parkas I knew “the sports gods” had decided “not this year, Peyton”.  But “the ’67 Ice Bowl” hurt worse.

   I was a big fan of Landry’s Cowboys of the mid 60s … Meredith, Lilly, Jordan, Hayes, Reeves, Pugh, etc.  I watched them any time they were on TV and waited eagerly for “the halfback option pass … Reeves to Rentzel” … it worked EVERY TIME!  

   Back then I thought “God” actually had time to interfere with sports.  He would cruelly “rain out” my Little League games and/or somehow wreck havoc for “my teams” … never more so than “the 67 Ice Bowl”.  It wasn’t that I “hated” the Packers.  I simply really liked the Cowboys.  The most infamous “frozen tundra” in the history of sports nullified all the advantages that the Cowboys might have had that day.  Yes, I know that the Packers played under the same conditions just like the Patriots have done with the Colts for the past two years.

   Like “Hamchuk” said to John Wayne in Green Berets when he learned that his “Peter-san” had died “You knew it might happened”.  “Yes, but I didn’t want it too.”  Tony Dungy, Peyton and I all knew the nullifying weather “might happen” but we “didn’t want it to.”

   On the positive side … Randy Moss is done for the year.  It the same euphoria I feel when Latrell Sprewell’s team is outed each NBA season.  Those two Minnesota-based jackasses personify everything I do not like about sports and jackass athletes.  As soon as they are out of camera and microphone range for the season the better in my opinion.

   He won’t be “Bill Buckner” because the moment wasn’t quite big enough, but that Jets place kicker has earned himself the lifetime label of  “the guy that missed the TWO game-winning kicks against the Steelers?”  Just a week earlier it was the baby-faced Charger kicker.  Next week it could be Jeff Reed.  Adam Villateri has two “credits” built up just in case it’s his turn.  Name another position in sports that matches that … you are not a “real player” yet you hold the power of winning or losing on your foot.  Don’t you know that was a lonely post game locker room for that kicker.


   Skip Prosser and his Deacons have earned their own separate upcoming SSays column so we will simply say it was comforting to read “the refs are always against Carolina”.  What would life be like without the absolutes of “death, taxes, and whining sports fans’ excuses”?  In our little part of the sports world we can always count on:

1.       The N&O is out to destroy NC State athletics

2.       The referees hate Carolina

3.       Coach K gets away with murder


UNC-CH Abolishes Football

…  Late Saturday afternoon, Chancellor James Moeser called an emergency meeting of the UNC Board of Trustees.  At his suggestion 

the BOT approved the immediate abolishment of Football as a part of the UNC athletic menu. 

The Meez made this decision after an 18 y/o kid named Toney Baker from Jamestown NC announced he would attend NC State and play football. Rather than try and figure out “why would anyone want to go THERE … and play for THAT HORRID MAN?” the UNC-CH poobahs simply decided it was high time to pull the plug on the whole shebang.

   Current student-athletes on the now defunct Tar Heel team can remain on scholarship if they agree to bus tables in Lenoir Hall and shift their majors to “something relevant to the real world”.  Likewise members of the now defunct coaching staff have the option to stay on if they can demonstrate proficiency in either replacing air conditioners filters in Hinton James Dorm or carrying “We Hate George Bush” signs at monthly faculty protest rallies. 

   It was suggested that this “plug pulling” on football be delayed until some kids named Hardesty and Hannah passed their judgement on the overall worthwhileness of “the University”, but Meez said it was only delaying the inevitable.  “Whether young Mr. Baker is “a 5-star or a 4-star” it is obvious that he, Demario, and A.J. are accredited judges of the quality of academic institutions.  

    … Charles Kuralt was right It’s NOT the well, or the bell, or the wall  

… it’s how many BillyBlueChip phenoms we can sign each year.”  … … sigh, sob, sniff


Swagger’s Stumper

Claire Huxtable married “a jock”.  Who is he?

Extra Credit:  What was his pre-Muslim name?


   Benefit of a Life Lesson learned … while enjoying a delightful dinner out on Saturday, the SwaggerMobile “got towed”.  My first fear was “stolen” so seeing the clearly posted “Towed 24/7” sign was sort of a relief.  I saw a tow truck in an adjourning lot and politely asked the driver if indeed he had towed my vehicle, doing so in my most polite “yes sir, officer, here’s my license and registration” voice.  He had towed it. As I was not F-bombing him plus no doubt recognizing me from my book jackets, he offered to give me a ride to the impound lot across town.  We engaged in tow truck driver – Internet Legend banter for the 10 minute ride.  Silver tongued devil that I am, I got him to reduce the charge from $100 to $50.  … Mizzus says I handled it quite well, all things considered.

Capt Kirk and Heather Locklear starred in T. J. Hooker.  This was definitely BEFORE dear Heather honeymooned with Tommy Lee.  That visual still bothers me.  Pam Anderson SURE … but not Heather!

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