….. A friend asked me recently “how come you get to the game so early ….3-4 hours before kick-off?” …. My immediate answer “Because ‘the game’ is simply the entrée of my GameDay feast.” …. I’m not sure he understood, maybe you won’t either. …. I see College Football GameDay as a marvelous day-long SOCIAL EVENT to be savored in its entirety. ….
Freedom To Be “A Fan”
(BobLee’s Philosophy … and It Should be Yours Too!)
….. Each ticket holder’s freedom to “be a fan” extends to the point where it interferes with another ticket holder’s freedom to “be a fan”. Observing that limit should answer any question about standing up, sitting down, when to cheer, yelling obscenities, or being a bloviating drunken jackass. I have experienced EVERY species of Tar Heel fan. “Bloviating drunken jackasses” are my least favorite of all.
There is no Commissioner of Proper Fan Behavior. If there was, it would certainly not be a flatulant hairball. To all you longtime Rams’ Clubbers …. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your support of Carolina Athletics.
MONEY PARAGRAPH ….. There are maybe a dozen stadiums in America where an exceptional “electric atmosphere” permanently exists .… LSU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida, VaTech, etc. The remaining 100 have variations of the apocryphal “wine & cheese fan”. At football powerhouse Texas they call their “subdued fans” – Tea Sippers. Southern Cal and Michigan have their version.
Administrators can manipulate a few physical tweaks but “it is what it is”. A sustained winning tradition “helps”. Case in point is DUKE. Cameron Indoor is THE rowdiest arena in NCAA BB …. 100 yards away is Wally Wade Mausoleum. Same fan base !!!!
Carolina’s #1 Football “Tradition” is endless internal whining about its supposedly apathetic fans. Enough already!
If I was UNC Vice Chancellor for Shuttles, I would have them leaving the Park & Ride Lots FOUR hours before Kick-off. Ideally I prefer to be sitting on a stonewall in Polk Place as Gameday awakens in Chapel Hill. As it is, if I park at Friday Center, the earliest I can be on campus is three hours prior. If Michael Beale delivers on his porta-johns, I might hound him on the extra hour bus.
For all the supercilious crap that hovers over Chapel Hill and UNC, it IS a quite beautiful setting for a college football GameDay. It always has been and is in 2007.
GameDay in Chapel Hill IS A HIGH ENERGY SOCIAL EVENT! It is not “war” or “a vicarious vindication for a mundane life of modest achievements”. IT IS A SOCIAL EVENT. Anyone who doesn’t understand that should be exterminated.
If The Dickster truly is “out to destroy Carolina’s GameDay” he’s doing a piss poor job of messing it up. If UNC had “a Grove” like Oxford MS, I’d like that too I suppose but I’m fine with the current arrangement.
Construction debris and concrete over grass bugs me a bit but such is progress. I doubt Hinton James would recognize the place today ….. it’s changed since Hinton rode in …. and since I rode out w/ my sheepskin (and complimentary King James BIBLE given to me by THE UNIVERSITY …. Talk about “changes”!) …. Heck, it’s changed since last Spring. I’ve changed a lot too …. Seems only fair the campus can change.
As I sit in Polk Place watching GameDay wake up …. The early passerbys are “for real-students” oblivious to what day it is. They actually go in the library for reasons other than checking out coeds or bodily functions. Yikes!
The Parker BBQ guys start unloading. Middle Eastern grad students with serious expressions, and dots, on the faces wonder why people are wearing blue. Once Meezie walked by. He had a trail of toilet paper stuck to his shoe. Hadji the grad student thought that was odd too.
The Tar Heel Network guys set up their booth on the library steps. The Sports Marketing interns toss comp bags of UTZ potato chips on the tables under the tent.
A skinny exhibitionist jogs though the quad drawing glances that say “he/she really should wear a shirt”. People with inflatables at their booth start inflating them. The dude dressed like a taco wanders in. Mr Taco thinks Meezie is weird too. When a guy dressed like a Taco thinks someone ELSE is weird ….. !!!
Pedestrian traffic increases. Pouring in from all sides at a steady but not gushing rate. I start getting noticed due to the mini-blimp floating over my head that says “Internet Legend Who Craves Attention” and an arrow pointing down to me.
Before Phineas Teague chased big bucks and a fancy title to Richmond he would give me a free Parker coupon. Now I have to actually buy my own BBQ plate …. What a bummer. Oh well …. I just go mooch off the guys “in the Shadow of The Bell Tower”.
The “food” at a tailgate is sort of important. I’m a traditionalist preferring the deviled eggs, pimento cheese, ham biscuits, cold fried chicken tailgate spread. I don’t do alcohol because I “get high” from just being with my friends. WOW, what a concept!
The real joy from the food is the joy that goes into the preparation. SOTBT is hosted by Chef Brad who goes into full Emmeril-mode on GameDay. Seeing a fellow getting “giddy” cooking a tenderloin on a portable grill is a sight to behold. Sous Chef Eric brings the pre-packaged stuff from Bojangles, etc. It all comes together quite well.
We will be THE most visible tailgaters on campus and NO ONE WILL HASSLE US BECAUSE we don’t act like moronic numbnutz. ….. duh!
Me and “the Shadow Guys” hang out and look cool for a few hours as the great unwashed stream down the sidewalk. Stereotypes to the contrary there’s always a few couples trapped in a 1950s time warp …. He wearing a navy blazer and tie and she in pantyhose and a hat. Makes me thinks of Thurston Howell and Lovee. His expression says “I hope Choo Choo has a big game today.” Her expression says “I can’t recall if Billy Arthur is a midget or a dwarf?” Gawd luv’em.
About 45 minutes before kick-off I join the mob heading to Kenan detouring by the Bell Tower Lot to grab a slice o’ pie from VineSwamp’s party. One thing NEVER changes about GameDay. VineSwamp is ALWAYS there.
Then up the hill to South Gate and to The Choo Choo Lounge to see Little Ricky, Mrs Little Ricky, Twombly and whichever Lettermen have stopped by. Possum Kessler, maybe The Cravens, GoalLine Bomar, Cowell, Elkins, ya never know who’ll be there.
For the first time in seven years no one will ask “do you think John can survive another week?” Probably this week someone will say “I thought James Madison was a girls’ school.”
Up the ramp to Napa Valley …. Check in w/ General Bill and his bunch from Statesville …. there’s CokeDaddy and Mamie unless its real hot in which case it’ll be “just CokeDaddy” and maybe Burgess. Ted from Lake Murray will be on the top row dialing in his fancy headphones. A few curious sorts spy moi and whisper “He’s more roguish than I thought. Did he really say that about Elizabeth?”
The pre-game festivities start. Cheerleaders start flipping. If you have really powerful binoculars you can see the sweat pooling in the navels of the flipping hotties.
“John Phillip” Fuchs leads the Marching Woodwinds down the field. Jumbo shows the weather chick from Channel 11 saying “it’ll be hot”.
The game starts ….. back and forth and back and forth ….. some good stuff …. Some not so good stuff ….. looooong TV timeouts …. Jumbo says Purdue is beating Lehigh. “College Football” IS “a good game”. It just IS.
We win or maybe we don’t. Hopefully we do. If not, 16 pre-assigned Loonies wearing “Dickie Baddour is Not My Daddy” t-shirts set themselves on fire in Section 104. No one cares and the fire eventually burns out. The world is a better place by 16 less Loonies.
Post-game it’s back to SOTBT to rehash how the refs screwed us or how agonizingly long those TV timeouts are. If we lost someone will say “Does this put Butch on the hot seat?” If we win someone will say “Can we win it all this year?” It’s usually the same person. Someone mentions Amato’s red shoes ….. yawn.
When the last piece of cold Bojangles chicken is gone we all go our separate ways.
I’ve been there 8+ hours. I’ve shaken several 100 hands and hugged a buncha folks. I had a heckuva fine GameDay.
So …THAT is why I go 3-4 hours early. If you don’t, see what you miss! Wear something Carolina Blue …. It’s the very least you can do. Cheer robustly if it fits your personality.
And as for Lovee’s question ….. I honestly don’t know if Billy Arthur was a midget or a dwarf but one of you folks will know and you’ll tell me.
GO HEELS …. BEAT THE JMU DUKES!
Carolina starts AND ENDS this season playing “Dukes”. Nostradamus predicted that in a quatrain.
Every mutha-loving ones of you folks are invited to stop by “The Shadow Of The Bell Tower” pre or post-game. Right by the crosswalk behind the Library where you cross Raleigh Road to the Bell Tower. If you can’t follow those directions you have a REAL hard time understanding 95% of the columns on this website. You’ll see a big banner saying Shadow Of The Bell Tower. That will be a key indicator you are really close. I’m the “good looking one” wearing the BOBLEE name tag …… We won’t feed you but we will entertain you.
BIG NEWS !!!! …. On Saturday we will be sharing “our” tailgate lot with The Williams Family and their memorial tribute to their son and brother, Sean, who passed away in February from Leukemia at UNC Hospitals. Sean was a hard-core Tar Heel fan and had the chance to meet both Burly John and Just Butch during his treatment. Join us for this opportunity for the entire Carolina Family to remember how precious and fleeting life and our loved ones’ really are. The Williams’ ask that you “bring a book” to donate to children patients at UNC Hospitals. See all of you on Saturday “in the Shadow of The Bell Tower” …. Except for you non Tar Heels who will be otherwise similarly occupied.