Move Over Red Sox

January17/ 2000

I suppose we HAVE to give this week’s “sports miracle” to that bunch in red socks up in Boston.  Any other week and it goes to Coach John Bunting’s Tar Heels.  Miami will lose other ACC games … but they will never lose their first ACC game to anyone but the Tar Heels.  How great a game was it? IT WAS BETTER THAN THE STATE WIN!  John Swofford lost $5,000,000 in Kenan Stadium and BobLee was there to see it.

On Halloween Weekend … 

Q:  What do Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th); Michael Myers (Halloween); and John Bunting (UNC Football) have in common?

A:  No matter what you do to’em, those three scary sumbitches just won’t die and stay dead.

   Like Rasputin The Mad Monk of Czarist Russia, UNC Head Coach John Bunting simply won’t roll over and die so we can haul his carcass out of Chapel Hill and “bring in somebody that can WIN BIG GAMES”.  Did he “save his job” with the win over Miami?  Yes.  Yes, Dawn can go ahead and order Christmas cards with the Chapel Hill address.  

What have we asked John Bunting to do this year?

(1)     Beat GaTech …  a mid-tier ACC team.  OK, he did that.

(2)     Beat NC State “because”.  OK, he did that.

(3)     Play a ranked team “close”.  31 – 28 … Close enough?

   Yes … the last three games still “matter”.  Yes … a total meltdown collapse might raise old questions.  If you were among the 55,000 in Kenan on October 30 you saw John Bunting do something that Mack could never do … that John’s mentor The Old Trenchfighter could never do.  Hell, Jim Tatum nor, I believe, Carl Snavely never did.  UNC beat a Top Five football team.  They did it WITHOUT 12th man Jim Knight.  They did it without a “fluke play”.  They did it without a key injury to the opponent.  They did it by blocking, tackling, running, catching, and kicking.

   Why do I say this win was “better than beating State”?  Because there was no nasty hatred factor.  Nasty hatred, calling each other names, and all that infantile rivalry crap bothers me a lot.  No Gloating … No Taunting … Just A Remarkable “Game”.  Miami brought their usual traveling contingent fully expecting a 30 to 40 point rout.  Counting their several thousand fans, that meant 55,000 total fans filed in to Kenan expecting a 30 to 40+ victory differential for Miami.  Maybe “Rita from Chester” was figuring just a 20 point loss but she still thinks we faked the moon landing and that pro wrestling is real.

   I tailgated pregame with Carolina Blue buddies Ted and Joii, and met “JV”.  As we left Craige Deck everyone figured bailing around the middle of the 3rd quarter at best.  I should have sensed this could be a magic night.  I had ordered pimento cheese sandwiches and deviled eggs as a requirement for my tailgate appearance.  Ted warned me in advance “no pimento cheese sandwiches” but Joii’s wife delivered the deviled eggs WITH ANCHOVIES.  

   I LOVE ANCHOVIES but I love Mizzus and Kid more and those salty hairy little fish are on the Swagger Ladies verboten list.  There they were at Ted’s Craige Deck spread.  Let it be written that I eat deviled eggs with anchovies before every game when Carolina beats a Top Five team.

   Ted invited me to join him and Mrs Ted in Napa Valley … smack dab on the 50 right underneath the press box overhang.  Ted is Ram enough to have had those primo seats for 25 years.  We were 6” from the “swells” in the Koury Box and surrounded by blue-haired doyens, lawyers, doctors, captains of industry, former debutantes, and “Cuzzin Bobby”.  Yep, Cuzzin Bobby was another part of this magic night.

   At the half I go down to the Choo Choo Lounge to see old lettermen pals.  Bomar, Talbott, Cowell, Huff, all the usuals (except Little Ricky!) and in walks Prince Albert The Long with Cuzzin Bobby Bryan and his Burlington buddy Mark.  Cuzzin Bobby commences braggin’ that I oughta join him and Mike in their great seats “almost on the 50”.  I says to Bobby “Swagger don’t do a job “almost”.  I am ON THE 50!  They wandered off and I had a coupla Beefmasters and went back up to rejoin Ted.

   Earlier I had dropped in on Boots and Doctor Jimmy to check on Lydia.  Boots and Dr Jimmy also sit smack dab on the 50.  On my way back to Ted’s I shouted out to General Bill and Syb whose seats are yep, “smack dab ….”  By next Fall I figure I’ll have hugged near bout every sumbitch that sit “smack dab on the 50” on Kenan’s South side.  I walk back up to Ted and that next lightning bolt struck.  Cuzzin Bobby and his buddy Mark’s seats were 2 seats to the left of Ted’s.  55,000 freakin’ seats in Kenan and they were right next to Ted.

   I’m not real sure cause it got kinda wild right towards the end but I might have common law married Bobby’s buddy Mark.  I know we hugged real tight when Connor split the uprights.  Hell, we mighta kissed.  I still had the anchovy taste in my mouth so I’m not sure.  For certain me and Mark had closer physical contact than me and Wife #1 had the last year of our marital union back in 1978.

   This Carolina win over Miami was everything that is and can be wonderful about college sports.  It was “Chaminade Beats Ralph Sampson”.  The crowd was going pure ape excrement in the 2nd half.  Remember now I was in the center of “Napa Valley”, Kenan Stadium’s notorious “wine country” and doyens, doctors, lawyers, and debutantes were hootin’ and hollerin’ like NASCAR fans cheering Dale Jr thru turn four at Talladega.

   Yes, going for the TD at the end of the half was THE RIGHT CALL.  Do that every time under those circumstances.  55,000 are still asking “how the hell did Jesse Holley catch that Hurricane on that interception runback”?  That was impossible!  “Derrick Johnson vs ECU” move over for Jesse Holley’s game saving play.

   Not a good day for the State of Florida.  0 for 3. Gators did not “win one for Coach Zook” and “dad gumit” Papa Bowden fell to Fat Fridgy at College Park.  

   Not a good day AT ALL for those of the Lupine Persuasion.  Wuffs picked to death in Death Valley, a lame TA again, and Heels beat Miami … aka Halloween Nightmare Combo Deluxe.

   Swofford’s $5,000,000 loss … no ACC team in the BCS Championship now so no mega-money pot to split up.  

   Carolina fans “brag about” … sitting thru the Furman game … or Navy in the rain … or Houston w/ Torbush … or Notre Dame w/ Montana … or Paul Miller’s bootleg vs Duke … or tying GaTech … or FlaSt in 2001 … and, most recently, “beating State with the goal line stand”.  Some “Great Wins” and dismal defeats in that bunch.  October 30, 2004:  UNC – 31; #2 Miami – 28.  Save that ticket stub cause this was one to remember.  For “Vine Swamp” this was consecutive Kenan home game # 198 … but not a one of the others was quite like this one … 

“The night Carolina beat Miami in Kenan Stadium.” 


Swagger’s Stumper

Batman The TV Show 

here are the actors … name their characters:

Caesar Romero … Frank Gorshin … Burgess Meredith


   Terry Holland’s dog was “named Dean because it cried all night long”.  A gazillion folks remembered that one.  Figured they would.

Big Week For Wilmington … Trot Nixon and Connor Barth … BE PROUD PORT CITY!

   Did the Miami win save Dickie’s job as well as John’s?  Hopefully not, and I don’t say that out of animosity for the little fellow.  Now is the perfect time to finesse that staffing reassignment and remove all the “bad Baddourian vibes” that have cast such pallor over UNC Athletics for way too long.  The little fellow can leave on a high note … with “leave” being the operative word.

   I had a great “alternative column” written because even BobLee never saw this miracle coming.  Until the anchovies and Cuzzin Bobby’s seats … then I knew anything was possible.

John Kerry unveiled a new ad at midnight across the state of Florida … “Saturday’s 0-3 was Bush’s Fault.   Vote For Me And, You Will Never Get Shutout on Another Football Saturday”.

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