Lance, France, KATRINA & Officer Swain

January17/ 2000

… Sorry for the delay with a new column.  I was all hot’n bothered over the Lance Armstrong versus France thing … BUT then the Hurricane overpowered that story.  I’ve been pretty freaked by the whole Katrina thing as I expect most of you have…. College Football kicks off this weekend but that doesn’t seem to matter right now nor the BIG NEWS about the infamous “Officer Swain”.   

Lance v France … I’m not a hard core Lance-ophile.  I think it’s cool that he won Tour de France seven years in a row and all that “yellow jersey” and “the Pyrenees” talk is fun for a few weeks.  I’ve never been to France so my knowledge of the country and its populace is totally based on others’ opinions.  I long ago gave up on “media accounts” of anything being accurate (more on this reality later on) but the general consensus seems to be that “the French” are pretty skuzzy as a whole. Broadbrushing scares me. I’m sure there are plenty of good decent French people. 

  This latest crap about some seven year old blood sample is beyond lunacy.  I refuse to indict “all French people” for one pathetic lab geek and his crony at a French newspaper but I have officially switched to Thousand Island dressing.  

   In a post-Palmeiro sports world, we are reluctant to believe any athlete is innocent once an accusation is publicized.  We certainly learned in the late 90s that overly dramatic denials of a malfeasance especially involving a finger waggle are automatically suspect.  I have not seen Lance waggle his finger so I chose to believe his innocence.

   What did strike me as I have followed this latest French attempt to belittle Armstrong’s victory is the similar reactions of a faction of my fellow UNCers whenever Duke succeeds in anything, especially when Duke wins a BB Championship.  Rather than simply saying “darn it” and lying low for a few months, our loon faction (plus a sizable % of otherwise quasi-normal fans) go berzerko accusing Rosemary’s Other Baby of every high crime and misdemeanor they can fabricate.  The scenario is quite similar to the “sore loser” syndrome shown by “the French” versus Lance Armstrong … unbecoming for sure.  



Officer Swain Has Been Fired

…Yes Indeed … the one man synonymous with denying 1,000s of Tar Heel fans their “right” to get knee-walking drunk HAS BEEN FIRED.  It was “Officer Swain” that cited UNC Trustee Billy Armfield’s niece with a liquor violation about 7 years ago.  Overnight “Officer Swain” became a cult villain on the level of D.J. Cooper or Elvira Gooch of Dorothy and Toto infamy.  UNC Lunatic Fringers had “Officer Swain” pistol whipping innocent tailgaters and strip searching nuns suspected of carrying illicit hootch under their habits.  

   The Legend of Officer Swain usually had him carrying out the evil orders of Richard “Call me Dickie” Baddour.  According to UNC Loon Legend, Dickie’s master plan to destroy UNC Athletics centered on destroying the Fall tailgate experience for all of God’s Chosen People. …. In truth (YIKES, The “T” word!), The Dickster was himself quite perplexed by the antics of “Officer Swain”.  

   With UNC Loons traditionally lagging at least 3 years behind reality, “Officer Swain” will continue to be credited with all manner of police brutality and nefarious misbehavior thru 2008 at least … but for the 28 people out there who like to be informed … “Officer Swain” has indeed been officially dismissed from UNC Security.  I have suggested to Phineas T. Teague that a series of billboards be ordered along I-40 informing the masses … and a moment of disrespectful irreverence observed at the Wisconsin game in “Officer Swain’s” dishonor.  


KATRINA … like anyone who has lived in the Southeast for any period of time, I have done the whole Hurricane survival routine countless times.  We’ve even had a for-real tornado pass within a block of Swagger Manor.  Never been through a forest fire, mudslide, or earthquake though.  

   Most North Carolinians of my generation measure everything by “Hazel”.  “Hazel” came through in the 50s and has never been forgotten.  I always thought “Hazel” was a good name for a Hurricane because it is usually a name for a witch or otherwise unattractive female person.  I don’t think names usually used for pretty girls should be used for Hurricanes. Recently some black racist loon was all atwitter because the Hurricane Naming People were not using “black girls names”. Yessiree Bob that’s a big time issue that deserves front page headline attention.  Halt that silly cancer research and compile a list of Black Girl Hurricane Names.

   Mizzus Swagger is our designated “Weather Person”.  Every family should have a designated “weather person”.  All I ask is that we have ONE flashlight in the house that “works” at all times.  A simple request that ranks behind “pigs flying” as a likelihood.  We have a  friend in South Florida that rivals Mizzus Swagger as a “weather geek”.  They hook up and start plotting evacuation routes when the barometric pressure in “the Azores” reaches “good day to fly a kite” level.  I pay attention when I notice that The Mizzus has bought beef jerky on a grocery shopping expedition.  Beef Jerky AND Trail Mix in our pantry usually means “the eye” is moving up the coast and is a Cat 3.

   The enormity of these natural disasters freak me out.  Having lived a lot of places and traveled a great deal in North America I long ago realized that EVERY region of this country has some unique susceptibility to weather-induced disasters.  Tornado Alley in the Midwest, Malibu wild fires (and mud slides), enormous forest fires in the Pacific Northwest, blizzards in the Northeast, killer heat waves and droughts in the Southwest.  And these are just the ones in America.  Add in Tsunamis and Volcanos and assorted epidemics around the world.

   All the evil tyrants down through history cannot reek the havoc of these “natural disasters”.

   I am unashamedly a “religious man” but can’t begin to understand the “why” of these unavoidable disasters.  Why do babies die and why are all those people along the Gulf Coast in such an awful mess now? 

   To all the self-absorbed lunatics and losers who “hate” rival fans, rival coaches, rival players, the sports media, and their own Athletics Directors.  All the sports nuts on all the fan sites on Earth don’t amount to a single raindrop that fell on Gulfport Mississippi on Monday.  The absolute insignificance of “sports” is so clearly evident in such times.

   If these horrific disasters illustrate anything about mankind it is “the best of the best” and “the worst of the worst”.  In the wake of Katrina there will be countless “Good Samaritans” helping fellow strangers in dire need AND countless incidents of profiteers and human scum preying on the vulnerable.

   Our society has, sadly, become quite polarized over “politics”.  That reality coupled with a universal tendency towards lack of personal responsibility and individual accountability, makes America especially vulnerable in times like these.  We did “band together” immediately after “9/11” but the novelty of that disaster quickly gave way to finger pointing and “who can we blame”.  You would think with a pure “natural disaster” we might be less accusatory and more charitable … we won’t be.

   When it looked like New Orleans was in the crosshairs of the storm we all paid attention as there is a national familiarity with “the Big Easy” either from personal experience or “heard about it”.  A major American city under 20’ of floodwater is a visual that grabs even a bonafide dolt’s attention.  

   As the storm shifted slightly to the east there was some reduced concern since it would “just hit Mississippi” and to many knuckleheads in America, “Mississippi doesn’t really count”.  It’s not like it’s one of the cool states with real people and stuff.  I don’t like people who think like that.

   Neighborhoods that “look like ours” are ravaged and will never be “like they were” ever again.  But, for those of us not directly affected, it’s a week or so of morbid fascination with the misery of others … then shifting our concern to the start of college football season. 

   New Orleans AND Mississippi were both battered to an extent rivaling the Pacific Tsunami.  Instead of a bunch of natives who aren’t “like us”, Katrina’s millions of victims are “like us” … like those 3,000 “like us” victims of 9/11.  Catastrophic stuff happening “to people like us” is unsettling … DUH! 

   I worry a LOT that America has completely lost the cohesiveness in times of trouble that always sustained this country.  I realize that every great culture through history has eventually fallen prey to internal strife.  Before the flood waters have receded the lunatic finger pointing will begin … and all the usual suspects will be blamed … Bush, Hillary, Baddour, Krzyzewski, Amato, Pat Robertson, Dave Huxtable, The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, talk radio, Christians, Muslims, John Roberts, and Jane Fonda.

   I, being the aforementioned “religious sort of guy”, will say a prayer for my friend Lydia The LSU Fan (who IS safe I’m delighted to report) and her fellow New Orleans residents … and then I will go try and find that one flashlight that works.


 Swagger’s Stumper

 What is the colorful name of New Orleans’ newspaper?


    UCincy defeated Ohio State in the NCAA Finals in both 1961 and 1962.  These were the Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek Ohio State teams too.

    Looking forward to meeting my HokieNation pals this weekend.  I talked to Seth Greenberg on Sunday and can’t wait to tell Hokie Jim what Seth told me.  The NCSU-VaTech game should be a barnburner.

    UNC’s Head FB Coach made the public statement that starting the season a week later than Ga Tech “isn’t fair”.  I wish he hadn’t said that.

[email protected]

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x