..TeamSwagger had a terrific time in Charlotte for the Tire Bowl… (We don’t let our psychological well being hinge on end zone celebrations, dropped passes, and fake field goals)… BobLee reflects on Carolina’s bowl game as well as some related broad civic and cultural issues… as usual, there’s “something for everyone” on today’s menu.
Living in Raleigh going on 17 years, we find it a very livable civic environment for how we have chosen to conduct our lives. The Mizzus particularly is prone to that old attitude … “now that we are settled in, lock the door on all these other newcomers”. But alas the “Triangle” metro area continues to expand. We now have a Nordstroms, a Saks, PLUS a superize Orvis … not to mention more Starbucks than McDonalds, an inner and outer “loop” and a Hummer dealership.
Alas, sports fans aren’t the only fanatics to never be satisfied. Sports loonies gotta be BIG TIME and Raleigh “city fathers” yearn to be “world class” like Charlotte just as Charlotte’s “city fathers” have for many years yearned to be Atlanta. Our Tire Bowl visit reconfirmed that Charlotte is much closer to being an Atlanta” than Raleigh is to “being Charlotte”. Being “bigger and better” is predicated on whether one is visiting or living in the city in question. We love “living” in Raleigh and “visiting” Charlotte or Atlanta. But we have long time friends who live in both other larger cities and seem quite happy. Having long time friends who are “quite happy” is also a good thing to have.
Charlotte and Atlanta have both achieved that city planner nirvana of a “vibrant downtown”. That harmonious blend of commercial, residential, and entertainment requires a critical mass of population AND a local deep pocketed sugar daddy. Raleigh has neither, Charlotte does. With no small assist by the transportation guys who have designed road systems to adequately handle traffic.
The Peach Bowl is my ideal of “the perfect package” for a UNC bowl game … an easy and economical drive and sufficient support facilities to handle 70,000 visitors … and a climate controlled game environment. Guarantee me the absolutely incredibly PERFECT weather we had on Thursday and Charlotte now beats Atlanta. BOA Stadium is as fine as any outdoor stadium on Earth. That Jerry Richardson is one smart fellow.
Charlotte’s downtown has the infrastructure to handle such an event even on a “work day” and the traffic control folks have excellent ingress/egress systems in place. We stayed with TeamSwagger’s legal advisor Duke Buck in the urban neighborhood of Dilworth and simply had a grand time. A 5-star BobLee rating for Zinc … a downtown nouvelle cuisine eatery.
Our “bowl experience” was further enhanced by loyal Swaggerite “Ted from Columbia” who rented out a parking lot two blocks from the stadium and hosted a fine tailgate party. Our thanks to Ted, Dan, Tom and the rest of the party organizers for their planning and execution. We ran into many friends and loyal readers and even spied a handful of message board loonies lurking in the shadows giving Ol’ BobLee the evil eye. As always, the worst of the bottom feeding bloviators of the fan forums never show up for these public gatherings … DUH!
THE GAME … the better team won on this day. Is BC clearly better than UNC? Of course not. Change 2-3 plays and UNC wins as is usually the case when comparable programs collide. As we were stuck in traffic on I-85 around Salisbury I told The Mizzus almost verbatim how the message board galoots would respond to the outcome of the game … message board galoots are as predictable as groundhogs and crabgrass. The game circumstance (see column title) truly provided “something for everyone”.
The “Pollyannas” can see the definite progress the Carolina football program has made and look forward to more of the same in 2005. The “Constipated Crowd” will gnaw on the bowl game defeat from now until next Fall and use it as a pilot light to keep alive (1) their abject hatred for Dickie, (2) their disapproval of Bunting, Tranquil, Fat Cats, the mythical wine & cheese faction, and (3) a sour negative attitude for life in general. Having identifiable targets for their hate, loathing, and jealous envy keeps these wretched souls from suicidal introspection.
The controversial “excessive celebration” penalty, that subsequently led to BC’s TD at the end of the 1st half, bears discussion. It happened right in front of us and no one in our party saw anything “abnormal”. Certainly the officials have guidelines for “excessive celebration” and those guidelines must have been crossed somehow. This has now become a “cultural issue”. 99.999% of football “skill position” athletes are now African American at the Div 1-A and NFL level. Junior Leaguers, Rotarians, African American athletes and every other cultural subset in our society have stereotypical responses in certain circumstances.
Invite a Junior Leaguer to a party and she will send you a written thank you note within 48 hours … she can’t help herself, its ingrained in her DNA. Gather four Rotarians together and at least three of them will own the latest Callaway Biggest Bertha and insist on giving you a shot by shot recount of their latest round of golf. Let a 19 y/o black athlete score a TD and he will either do the “chicken strut”, the “head bob” or that crossed arm thingy … or whatever newest tribal gyration he saw in Snopp Dogg’s latest video.
Rotarians and Junior Leaguers however do not perform on national television or in front of 70,000 fans … 69,000 of whom do not share their cultural preferences. Prehaps football rulesmakers need to watch more MTV and/or Rap videos to appreciate that “chicken strutting”, that crossed arms thingy and other manifestations of “urban culture celebratory mannerisms” may be more of an uncontrollable Pavlovian response than white bread America understands.
Either that or legislate that when Grambling plays Florida A&M the marching bands must play Broadway show tunes and Sousa marches. Given their druthers, black audiences aren’t big on Rogers & Hammerstein and Irving Berlin. What’s next, outlaw cornrows and the new fad of dreadlocks sticking out of the helmet in favor of Howie Long flattops for everyone?
As Tar Heel fans quickly flip their switches to basketball, let’s hope the vast majority among’em can (1) lower the flame on their silly Dickie hate, (2) appreciate that John Bunting has definitely climbed the learning curve ladder as a Head Coach, and (3) realize that the REAL reason for all their recent consternation has disappeared … the gut retching fear that Chuck Amato was building a juggernaut program that was running off and leaving Carolina in the dust. We “got the bell back”, “beat State”, and “went to a bowl” … that pretty well hits the high spots on 99% of your Please God wish lists from last August.
Both UNC and NCSU’s programs are now in the nether world of 4-7 to 7-4 with the occasional 8-3 if every errant bounce and zebra call goes “right”. Not a bad world to be in for institutions of academic repute. Folks with well-balanced lives can easily handle such.
Texas destroyed Texas Tech at Lubbock … Texas Tech beat Cal handily in the Holiday Bowl … score a big “you da man” for Mack Brown and the BCS system. Also congrats to Mack for his new 10 year deal … producing 10 win seasons year after year after year deserves some appreciation.
Bobby Petrino and the Louisville fans … LOTS of fence mending to be done there. Signing a long term deal then entertaining the LSU offer within a week … so much for the latest “he lied to dem boys … HANG HIM!”
Speaking of LSU … that old voodoo queen Marie Laveau definitely got the last laugh on St Nick The Dolphin. Was the ending of their Iowa game a thrill or what!
What’s the latest Lame Duck coach count for this bowl season … over a dozen such cases of either “interim coaches” or “I’m outta here before the team bus pulls out of the stadium parking lot”? Such will become the norm in the new “3 year ultimatum” syndrome. Who will emerge as “the next Urban Meyer” in 2005? Probably Dan Hawkins at Boise.
What takes place each year on Colorado Boulevard?
The Swaggers’ New Year Resolutions centers around “clutter” … we are attacking our accumulated messes with a vengeance. “Clutter Anxiety” does not get the publicity that obesity, financial worries, and time management seem to have, but it is equally as insidious in negatively affecting one’s daily life and peace of mind. Kid filled up the SwaggerMobile with 5 sacks for Goodwill and Mizzus is attacking “the closets” with an aggressive tenacity not seen since she tangled with some nasty “Kerry supporters” on election day.
Our resolve to watch the “feel good” channels is holding firm. Duke Buck expressed his unbridled lust for Food Channel’s Nigela Lawson … that’s a new one for me but Kid, of course, had all the scoop on the sensuous English epicurean.
We have BIG PLANS for 2005 … To double our audience … which means finding mucho more “fine folks of like-minded temperament”.