Outlined against a blue-gray October sky…. a courageous young stallion (in a chrome helmet) galloped into history amid Kenan’s lofty pines.
“…. against a blue-gray October sky…” is the opening to Grantland Rice’s epic column on October 18, 1924 introducing Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen. CNR and Bubba and maybe The Real Bob Kennel know that. If ol’ Grantland had been with me in The Choo Choo Lounge I think he’d asaid “BobLee, you can borrow it just this once.”
Many backstories and sub texts that you don’t know, but you will learn in the next 10 minutes.
Upon Heaven’s gridiron graze a special breed of stallions. As swift afoot as Mercury. As strong as Hercules. As brave as the bravest heroes of history, myth and lore who ever faced Defeat square in the eye….. and Defeat blinked.
Their names are as colorful as their deeds are heroic. Red Grange – The Gallopin’ Ghost….. Doak Walker….. Charlie Trippi….. “Bullet Bill” Dudley….. Herschel….. “Juice”….. Bo….. #23 From Garden City…. Mr Inside & Mr Outside….. and Carolina’s own #22 Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice. At around 4:10 PM EDT on Saturday last, a quick vote was held among these vaunted stallions. Choo Choo was chosen to deliver the news…..
#26 Giovanni Bernard, step upon the pedestal.
Young fella you have earned your place in the panteon of heroes.
Who knows what the future holds for “Gio”. Like all great stallions – Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Whirlaway, Gallant Man, Seabiscuit, and Gio every run could be their last. Their longevity is at the mercy of the gods who control the destiny of such marvelous creations. But for certain sure….. Saturday, October 27, 2012 and Gio Bernard are forever etched in the annals of Carolina sports lore.
Does this rise to the level of Walter Davis and “8 down with 17 seconds to play” in 1974? HELL YES! No doubt about it. Move over Walter. Move over Choo Choo. Make room for Gio.
547,000 Carolina fans (at least) filled Kenan Stadium under that “blue-gray October sky”. They will all have ticket stubs to prove it too!
Did a single son or daughter of The Old Well leave early ?
Was a single dissenting sound “harked” ?
Did every Tru Blue know: “So long as there’s a second on the clock and we have Gio….. there’s hope springing eternal within every Tar Heel breast.” ??
Maybe I’m getting a tad too high on happy now. A dawber or two had indeed gotten down. One or two had prior engagements around 3:30.
As my Good Sports co-host Br’er Chansky and I strolled into Kenan around 12:10 we placed a friendly wager on what unis The Fedorians would sport. I bet it would be good guys in “all white with those awesome white helmet” and bad guys all in “blood-red”. Neither of us knew the true horror that the boss of The Fedorians had planned.
As you know, I watch each home game from Choo Choo’s Lounge on the South Concourse. As the Fedorians came out of the tunnel I figured the color thingamajig on the HDTV had gone on the fritz.
“Ohhhh Noooo Larry, what the heel you gone and done? This ain’t freakin’ Hattiesburg you hyped-up galoot.” That is actually pretty much what I screamed at the screen.
I tried to figure out what the deal was with the stoopid chrome helmets with the stoopid blue-foot on the side. Yours truly was NOT a happy old-school traditionalist. I almost texted Bubba right then. “The Real AD” must have sensed my anxiety.
The game starts….. Fedorians go nutzo outta the gate. Gonna be a blow-out….. gonna score a 100…. at least! I’m thinking “awwww crap. Now these goofy helmets will be a permanent good luck charm”. I’m conflicted.
Wuffs roar back…. roar…. roar. Uh oh. LARRY, CHANGE THE HELMETS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! ….. end of the first quarter and Bubba The Real AD comes in to see me. Bubba’s grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“You don’t like the helmets. I bet”….. “YA THINK” I replied.
Bubba patiently explained the whole story behind the stoopid chrome helmets with the cartoon foot and my blood pressure descended to a normal range. It was some screwy deal with Learfield. (NOTE: To All ABCers and Dan Kane: Zero taxpayer dollars were used for the chrome helmets.)
Second quarter becomes a Friday The 13th movie with Tar Heels as the nubile teenagers at Crystal Lake. The Wuffs all wore hockey masks and carried machetes. Nubile teenagers at summer camp are not very good at pressuring QBs named Mike.
The Band of Brothers poured into the CC Lounge at halftime. Yes, some discouraging sounds were being harked by six decades of former FB Lettermen. More than a few. There were four former QBs on hand this day – Talbot, Bomar, Stankavage and a young fella named Yates.
I quickly rounded up some former D-linemen ….. Battle Wall, Mike Horvat, Brent Milgrom Little Ricky Packard and even Ev Cowan (who was an OffGuard but I was desperate) and I arranged for them to replace the current D-line for the 2nd Half. I bet you wondered about that, huh!
The Fabulous Comparato Twins (aka Official CC Lounge mascotettes) were on-hand and gave my Old New D-Line a peppy “go get’em” speech. Nicole was wearing a pink off-shoulder UNC t-shirt. Whatever she told’em musta worked, huh?
The rest is a historical anomaly that will live forever in one form or another in the cul-de-sacs and around water coolers within 100 miles of The Old Well.
Thruout the afternoon, I was exchanging emotional texts with “my favorite BOG guy”. Details of that e-conservation are hermetically sealed until such time as no living soul on earth can correctly spell “Nyang’oro”. For the record, only four living souls CAN correctly spell Nyang’oro – Julius, me, Deborah Crowder and Serge Zwikker (??).
I can’t wrap this up without sneaking a peek over at The Brickyard. I avoid their really scary sites where their really really scary cockroachs swarm and gnaw off each other appendages, but I did check around a bit…..
NOTE: The mainstream ADULT wing of WuffWorld, while disappointed, are rational and reasonable as is their custom. But the cross-eyed crowd is where we always go for giggles and grins.
To no surprise at all…… Referee Ron Cherry’s mutha came in for some criticism. Ron, his mamma and whatever horse they rode in on came in for some harsh words by dour Lupiners. I didn’t actually hear any harsh words for John Swofford but ya jest know his name had to come up for blame. It’s a rule following any State defeat in anything.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has declared an Epidemic Alert for Paranoid Hysteria in portions of Wake & Johnston Counties thru next Saturday.
One nitwit BLAMED DAN KANE & THE N&O saying Dan had not completely destroyed UNC and shoulda been tailing Gio 24/7 the past twenty years. Something about a fingerpainting Gio turned in in the 2nd grade. Wuffie bottom-feeders are a special breed indeed.
There is already a youtube circulating thru WuffWorld “clearly” showing a squad of Swofford Ninjas driving SUVs with tinted windows forming a picket line for Gio on that punt return. Using 50 calibres, the Ninjas actually SHOT nine Wuff tacklers IN THE BACK and ran over’em. And Ron The Referee didn’t see a one of’em. For your copy go to TA’sKnee.com ….. The videographer was Abraham Zapruder’s grandson Guido Zapruder. Who knew there was a grassy knoll built into The Blue Zone??
TO’B is not being hailed as THE greatest coach in NC State history right now. His strategic decisions in those final fatal minutes will be analyzed A LOT. Both by beady-eyed Wuff goobers and even by some mature adult Wuffs. A FrauYowCallJonGruden.com website went up at 5:27 PM EDT.
Did today’s HUGE UNC W prove that – Rick Dees is a better human being that General Hugh Shelton? That goes back to THE STOOPIDEST remark ever made by a Wuffie about nine years ago. No….. General Shelton is still a very fine General and human being and Rick Dees is still a fine disc jockey.
Does today’s UNC W wipe out all the Great Unpleasantness? No, of course not. It dulls its sting for a few days but reality awaits that resolution.
Is NC State University still as fine an institution now as it was at 12:30 PM Saturday? As far as I know, yes it is.
It was a humdinger of a football game that Carolina won. It does not insure either Mitt nor whatshisname a victory on Nov 6.
Yes, it is true that Larry Fedora has NEVER lost to TO’B and at this rate he never will. Were you watching Butch?
I have cultivated an image as non-plussed and unflappable as regards dumb ol’ sports events. I confess that in those final two minutes I, BobLee, was both plussing and flapping.
It was lotsa fun and quite exciting. “Real life” beckons us back to upcoming events of far greater magnitude.