The Blue Messiah’s Monkey – R.I.P.

January17/ 2000

… As the clock clicked under a minute, we calculated the possibilities.  It was truly “The Lady or The Tiger” for Ol’ Roy & His Boyz.  Hold the lead and Roy’s monkey is vanquished.  If an Illini 3 pointer finds its mark Ol’ Roy is even more the Sisyphus of college hoops, pushing his rock so close to the mountain top only to see it roll back to the bottom.  The Final Four Fates (and Felton)smiled and Ol’ Sisyphus seized the summit in triumph.  As with many Tar Heels of my generation, it’s #4 in my memory bank of “where I was” when Carolina won “The Big One”.

   Let us run thru the litany of issues to be reviewed in the wake of this latest very bright shining moment in Carolina and ACC Sports history. 


NOTICE a change in Ye Olde SwaggerSays website ???  All will be explained very soon.  All new news is Good News … Your fave “irreverent commentator” is ratcheting up for Bigger & Better. 


 … Is Roy’s monkey finally vanquished?  Abso-dadgummit-lutely.  He coached his team to a dramatic victory over the #1 team in the country with nary a “yes, but”.  There was no Fred Brown errant pass.  There was no C-Webb TO.  At 11:38 PM on April 4, 2005, Ol’ Roy Williams popped a cap on his “Win The Big One” Monkey.  Toe tag Ol’ Roy’s monkey along with Red Sox Monkey and Phil Mickelson Monkey.

    What about that “Team” versus “Talent” yadda yadda?  People, People, People …  I cannot believe so many of you got bent out of shape over this.  As a “member of the media” let me tell you how this business works.  Sportswriters and pundits have columns to write and air time to fill.  With extended high profile events like The Super Bowl, World Series, Final Four, and The Masters, etc a bazillion words are written and said.  In discussing a “competition” it is necessary to draw comparisons and points of delineations between the participants (think political campaigns!).  Antagonist – Protagonist … Ying – Yang … PushMe – PullYu.

   Most writers have a “style”.  Me, I’ve never met a corny metaphor or simile I could pass up and I also like alliteration.  Whoever first penned the “Team vs Talent” line also liked alliteration (repetition of a letter or a sound of a letter … both words begin with “T”!).  We have two very successful teams composed of highly skilled athletes functioning as a “unit”.  I GUARANTEE you the choice of which would get the “talent” label and which would get the “team” label was arbitrary … two words drawn randomly out of a pundit’s hat.

   As soon as the labels were assigned, the oh-so-easily offended Tar Heel Nation EXPLODED in righteous indignation.  As regular readers here know, my fellow Tar Heels have a tendency to embarrass me on occasion.  This was such an occasion.  “How dare that no-talent jackass say UNC is a group of talented players and not say we are a “team” … harrumph.”  As Mark Mirken and Timo Makkonean are my witnesses … if the labels had been reversed, my oh-so-predictable fellow Tar Heels would have EXPLODED in righteous indignation screaming “how dare that no-talent jackass say that UNC is just a team and not highly talented athletes … harrumph.”

   Maybe it is tied to being members of the same Consolidated University system, but Tar Heels and Wuffies share a very unfortunate affliction … a terminal persecution complex of epidemic proportions.  THE MEDIA HATES US!  … THE MEDIA IS JEALOUS OF US!  … NOBODY EVER GIVES US A BREAK! … OH WOE IS US !!! … yuck, ptui, gag me with a spoon, cry me a freakin’ river.

   It was one thing when the Talent vs Team silliness was confined to the mouth-breathing wuzzles on the fan boards.  Cockamamie conspiracies are the life blood of those Loonie Bins?  But when it began to be discussed among “sane adults with real lives” I got worried.  Then Ol’ Roy mentioned it in his post-game comments and Sean May even referenced “no body gave us any credit …”  No, no don’t say it so guys!

   Sean, you are forever on my, and every other Tar Heel’s, All Time Really Special List but that was a needless reminder that you are still a 21 year old kid.  As for Ol’ Roy whining about it, I’m just going to write it off as a post-Monkey killing mind hiccup. Part of Ol’ Roy’s charm is his tendency to utter charming mindless comments on occasion.

 …Dick Vitale HATES Carolina … yawn.  A year ago today, Dick publically picked Carolina to win the 2005 National Championship on national television.  He repeated that prediction on bracket announcement Sunday.  He further repeated that prediction through each round of “the Dance”.  He repeated it prior to the Illinois game.  Despite his supposedly “favorite team” Duke being eligible to win, Dick Vitale stayed with his pick of Carolina.

   Far too many people have too much invested in Dick Vitale Hate to ever acknowledge this latest high compliment to the Tar Heels.  Nevertheless, let the facts be so recorded should any of the Vitale Vigilantes ever care to think thru their venomous bilious attitude.  Few ever will.

   Billy Packer HATES Carolina … yawn.  Rack this one up beside Vitale Hate.  Actually a high % of people who rage and rant about Mssrs Vitale and Packer have quite lengthy HATE A WHOLE LOT lists.  Their lists usually include their local sportswriters, local, regional and national politicians and public officials, ex-bosses, ex-wives, everyone on SportsCenter especially ________, every MLB, NFL, and NBA owner, all athletic directors, and anyone who has ever officiated, refereed, or announced any sports event any where at any time.  See, a pretty lengthy list.  Draw your own conclusions about how these folks approach life in general. 

Digger Phelps HATES Carolina … (see above)

   It happened on Dickie’s Watch.  Universal Rule of Accountability says Prince Tassel Loafer deserves a ring when Ol’ Roy places the order with Balfour or Jostens’s or Cracker Jack.  What has happened on Dickie’s Watch this year?

  1.  UNC FB defeats in-state rivals plus Miami, going to Tire Bowl 
  2. Pope Dies 
  3. UNC BB wins National Championship 
  4. UNC Women’s Soccer loses earlyin NCAA Tournament 
  5. Monster Tsunami hits Indonesia 
  6. Steroid Scandal Rocks Baseball 
  7. Red Sox Win World Series 

They all happened “on Dickie’s Watch” … they all go in the ledger under “Baddour Was Somehow Responsible”.  While some might say that Tsunami would have happened regardless, I say “prove it”.

   It was a Grand Night which I enjoyed immensely EXCEPT for the endless commercials … 10 minutes of commercials … 5 minutes of game action … 10 minutes of commercials … midway the 1st half I implemented a sanity-saving plan.  The Food Channel had a special on Cheesecakes so I hit the “Last” button whenever CBS cut to a commercial.  This had nothing to do with K’s AMEX thingie.  It was an emotional event and I simply over-reacted to what I saw as CBS’ over-commercialization of the event.  I also learned about some place called “Eli’s Cheesecakes” in Chicago.  Hey, Bob Heymann, howsabout shipping Swaggy one of Eli’s chocolate praline cakes?

   Kudos to everyone on the staff and team for their celebratory decorum post-game.  No gang signs, no hip hop crap, no thuggery, etc.  Sean, Raymond, and Ol’ Roy did fine in the official presser (except for the aforementioned “team vs talent” miscue).  Ol’ Roy has the program FIRMLY UNDER CONTROL and it’s future is ahead of it.  

   Rashad should have chosen another time and place to say “I’m leaving” but Rashad has always been a “fire, ready, aim” kinda guy whenever he sees a live mike.  Good luck to you Rashad.  Roy will mail you your ring.  Sorry, but there will be no jersey in the rafters (confirming BLS’ Bullseye Prediction of 6 weeks ago!) 

   Within 30 seconds of the final buzzer.  Even before Ol’ Roy was ahuggin’ Wanda, the SwaggerPhone was ringing.  Duke Buck, (Duke Law ’74) was calling to offer his congrats.  A tradition my longtime amigo and I have observed in mutual circumstances over the past 30 years.  Within 60 seconds I had an e-mail congrats from JDanWuff, a special lupine friend.  More have poured in since.  I hope all of you happy Tar Heels have such friends of rival persuasions that have stepped up and shown their “class” in this time of Tar Heel Triumph.  

 It was a most fine occasion to be long savored



 Swagger’s Stumper

UNC has 4 NCs in the “modern era”.  

What is the “average” victory margin?


    I spent my first day “post Big Win” with the Lumberton Rotary Club.  Most excellent group of folks.  Many laughs and sharing of stories.  Thanks to Gene, Dick, and all of BobLee’s newest Buddies just north of South of The Border.

   The answers to the last Stumper were … Jacksonville, Houston, Syracuse, and Florida State.

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