The F-15 Caper & Other Tales

January17/ 2000

. NCAA Stat geeks were scanning the records for less offensive outputs.  The COMBINED offensive output of UNC (7), UVa (5), Alabama (6), and Tennessee (3) was surpassed by 23 NHL teams, 8 Major League Soccer teams and a 72 hour Cricket marathon between Kuala Lumpur and Paraguay.  Scoreboard operators paid by the point had beanie weenies for Saturday supper….  Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, the war mongering right wingers beat the venomous F-bombing faculty squirrels by one beautiful fly-over.  Just another color and pageantry filled autumn weekend.

    Ask any logical Tar Heel fan back on Labor Day which two (non-Duke) games he wanted to win the most this season and the overwhelming answer would be State and Virginia.  Mission Accomplished.  BobLee said it back in his pre-season predictions … We Have To Beat The Comparables Before We Aim For The “Real Football Factories”.  Those “comparables” were listed as NCSU, UVa, and GaTech.  If the Tar Heels had had a warm-up game prior to invading Historic Bobby Grant Ballyard, it’s likely Burly John Bunting would be 3-0 against “the comparables”.  AttaBoy Burley John!

   Has there ever been such a one year to the next reversal from last year’s Scott Stadium slaughter to this year’s pitcher’s duel in Kenan?  85% of the players were the same.  Did Al “Lifetime Contract” Groh get offensively impotent after UVa-AD Craig Littlepage’s recent largesse.  If Littlepage ends up paying out buy-outs to both Pete Gillen and Algroh, his monthly debits will be more than Mr Jefferson paid for the Louisiana Purchase … YIKES!  Kinda makes Little Johnny Swofford’s 8 years of checks to Dick Crum up on Big Bear Lake looks like small potatoes, don’t it.

   It was 11:45 AM on Saturday.  Swagger was in the Choo Choo Lounge at Kenan with Dashing Danny The Rocky Mount Rocket, Little Ricky Packard, and Prince Albert The Long.  We were discussing former Wuff QB Charles Davenport’s “Amato Ain’t No Sheridan” interview and the upcoming F-15 pre-game flyover.  The SwaggerPhone goes off.  It was Phineas Teague.  There was trouble with the fly-over.  

   I had been brought in as a consultant on this project earlier in the week when The Franklin Street Anarchists & Carrboro Society of Constipated Pseudo-Intellectual Leftwing Bush-hating Jackasses had expressed their bone deep expletive filled hatred for the planned demonstration of US military air superiority over Kenan Stadium.  That I had let slip to WCHL a possibility the F-15s would use the opportunity to carpet bomb every Bolshevik-filled bistro on Franklin Street probably didn’t help the situation … but what the hell … it just seemed a good opportunity to agitate the sanctimonious sumbitches.

  Phineas and I were ready.  In a 3-way call with Kent The Jumbo Master, we threw Dale Earnhardt Jr 40’ picture up on Jumbo knowing that would send the pompous loonie lefties into hysteria.  NASCAR redneck being honored in KENAN STADIUM!  We announced the fly-over would be postponed til later in the game citing “low cloud ceiling”.  Exactly what went on during the next hour is classified on a strict NTK basis but UNC Sports Marketing Director Michael Beale earned a Purple Heart for his heroic efforts.  With 3 minutes to go in the halftime intermission I walked into the Letterman’s Lounge with a double thumbs up.  90 seconds later “Wrench”, “Diablo”, “Slugger”, and “Slammer” hit the after-burners and set off every damn car alarm on campus. YEE HAA! “… God bless America, Land that we love … stand beside her and  …”

  Susie “Racquetball” Estroff was perched atop The Bell Tower using her bra as a ground to air slingshot trying to bring down one of those horrible symbols of Truth, Justice & The American Way … but alas FAILEDl AGAIN.  Meanwhile in a Hanes Hall toilet stall a certain hysterical History professor vomited up his pancreas.  All in all a pretty wonderful afternoon for “the good guys”. 

   In a post-game VIP Tailgate for The Loyal Order of Friends of Norwood I got to meet “Wrench”, “Diablo”, “Slammer”, and “Slugger” … all four have flown air combat missions in the Middle East.  The phrase DAMN IMPRESSIVE YOUNG MEN doesn’t begin to adequately describe these Real American Heroes.

     (NOTE:  If you DID enjoy the Fly Over, Let the UNC Ath Dept, and Meezie too, KNOW.  The nasty faction certainly let THEIR feelings be heard.  Lets hear from the God Fearin’ American Patriots on this one! … NO F-BOMBS PLEASE … that’s “their” style)

   As I piloted my F-150 SwaggerMobile back to Swagger Manor later Saturday evening I tried to make some sense out of Chuck Amato’s post Wake game “comments”.  He did NOT say “you people” or reference an “N&O conspiracy” this go-round; but “playing our fannies off” was the closest to a coherent phrase I could extrapolate.  I know I am supposed to join my fellow UNCers in gleefully watching the total meltdown of Wolfpack Football but I can’t do it.  Beyond the high profile symbols of the program are countless staffers, players, innocent bystanders, and non-message board “real fans and alumni” getting psychologically whipsawed by this phenomenon.

 Sports Builds Character Award

   If the above old euphemism is true then three members of Carolina’s Football team are in line for Mother Teresa Humanitarian recognition.

Connor Barth – One year ago Goldilocks From Wilmington hit the kick heard round Orange County and assured himself of Tar Heel Immortality.  Apparently 265,874 “loyal fans” were in Kenan Stadium that fateful October night when Connor stabbed “The Canes” thru the heart.  Each one of those 265,874 “loyal fans” turned to one another at that incredible moment and declared “I bet that boy gets laid tonight”(THE THRILL OF VICTORY!)  I have no proof whether or not he was indeed “laid”; however, if kicking field goals IS the path to adolescent sexual gratification then Young Mr Barth should be qualifying for Franciscan Monk celibacy status by this Thanksgiving.  Include him with Steve Blass and Mark Wohlers and Rick Ankiel in the “can’t hit the water if he was sitting in a boat” category.  (The AGONY OF DA FEET!) Hey Connor, call Dante Calabria or Shammond Williams for sympathetic shoulders.

Speaking of noteworthy Tar Heel kickers … Rocky Mount’s Mike Mason drew a quick ad lib from Tar Heel Radio’s Rick Steinbacher.  How Rick linked Mason’s “oops” to Leon Lett in less than 8 seconds was incredible for a radio rookie.  Sensing his days as a “go to” receiver rapidly coming to an end, Mike decided to audition for “quick kicker”.  There were 40,000+ people in Kenan and not one person other than possibly Ken Browning had any idea that Mason’s celebratory “secondary punt boost” was a no-no.  Other than probably aging John Bunting by about 23 years, Mike’s “faux pas” was meaningless but still immortal.

It’s one thing to screw up in front of 40,000 people who for the most part are totally unforgiving and ruthlessly disparaging.  It’s another to do it regularly with impeccable timing.  One has to give it to UNC’s long snapper Warren Green for impeccable timing.  He routinely picks critical moments deep in his own territory against hated rivals to launch his “aw sh*t not again” moonshots.  By doing it relatively early in these critical games he adds unbelievable drama to each ensuing punt for the remainder of the game … especially the ones in the final minutes of the game.  His worm burner to David “Wal-Mart” Wooldridge’s shoetops with :06 to go on Saturday was a genuine nailbiter.  Not to worry about Warren.  Ol’ Roy has offered him a walk-on spot on the basketball team to throw up Alley-oops to Tyler Hansbrough.  Ol’ Roy works every angle.

So you folks are thinking “Damn BobLee ain’t you being hard on these boys?”  Folks, if the above embarrassing moments are the worst moments in these boys’ lives, they will have led charmed existences.  If one chooses to lay it all on the line in front of large audiences, one accepts the reality of “standing O’s” as well as “brickbats”.  You learn from both.  Some wretched souls go their whole lives and never get to “lay it on the line” in front of an unforgiving audience.  Coaches do it, ADs do it, players do it, referees do it and even Internet legends do it.   99.9% of human hairballs on message boards DON’T DO IT.

Connor, Mike and Warren will either develop marvelous sense of humors over these incidents or be psychologically scarred for life.  Let’s go for the former.  We won the freakin’ game and even if we didn’t, it was JUST A FREAKIN’ GAME!


 Swagger’s Stumper

 How much was Steve Austin worth?


    Michael “Alfie” Caine played a British Lancer in Zulu and in Man Who Would Be King.  Both are first rate “Guy Flicks”.

   Between my buddy BeoWolf Sanders at The John Locke Foundation who first caught the story, and moi, we managed to publicly humiliate Kamau The Exterminator.  The N&O put Kamau on Saturday’s front page, Mike Adams did a blistering nationally syndicated column, and Fox News spread it worldwide. 

    Speaking of outing the vermin in our society … Kudos to The N&O’s Melanie Sill and her investigative reporter duo of Curliss & Kane for shining the light of truth and revelation on Jim “Boss” Black and Meredith “The Ambitious Non-Lobbyist”’s Lottery Scam.  This one has it all … oily politicians, big money scams, and illicit sexual escapades.  Keep digging boys until you get all the way to Manteo.

   Lydia, Boots, and Tallahassee Lassie were in town this weekend for their annual Kappa Kick-off and Retell the same stories AGAIN Reunion.  BLS and Mizzus got treasured invites.  Lyd still hasn’t been back to her house in Nawlins but friends are guarding it for her.  Lyd ain’t much of a Tom Benson fan.

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