Aluminum: The New “Amphibious”?

Empty Kenan Stadium
BobLee
September28/ 2015

From my viewing stand perspective, there is no such thing as “Too Goofy” when it comes to overly-caffeinated institutional partisans throwing their feces back and forth at one another.

Over twenty years, I’ve learned to simply step back out-of-range and watch’em fling it.  Fling it back/forth long enough and it all looks and smells the same.  With that, I am now declaring:

Aluminum Is The New Amphibious

For the benefit of the 1% or 2% who do not have an immediate reaction to the word “Amphibious” allow me a brief edification.

Back in the mid 80s, NC State had a basketball player named Charles Shackleford and a quippy coach named Jim Valvano.  After The Albuquerque Miracle in 1983,  Jim was The Toast of Toastmastering…. as adept at mesmerizing a rubber-chicken audience as he was devising game strategy on-the-fly.

Jimmy V could get laffs reading the warning label on a bottle of shampoo…. or poking fun at himself or his own players.   Later he would gain everlasting fame for a legendary speech about Courage when dealing with life’s ultimate adversity.   But before “The ESPN Speech” Jimmy V made Charles Shackleford forever infamous for

“Today at practice, Charles told me “Coach, I can shoot with either hand…. I’m Amphibious”.

Charles Shackleford

That play on words  – “Amphibious” / “Ambidextrous” – was NOT original with Jimmy V and, non-partisan historians pretty much agree Charles Shackleford NEVER said it.

Folks who knew Shackleford growing up in Kinston have always maintained “Shack’s” very limited vocabulary did not contain either “amphi/ambi-“ word.   They are NOT “ambivalent” in that assertion.

The line likely originated with either Peahead Walker or Abe Lemons or some unknown Vaudeville comedian of The Orpheum Circuit.   But anything “V” said from 1983-1988 either got a laugh or made a headline in The News & Observer or both.

Once the “I’m Amphibious” line was “out there” (along with Shack’s teammate Chris Washburn’s woeful SAT score of “475”), together they became THE catch-phrases used by “hated rivals” of The NC State Wolfpack…. specifically those partisan to a certain “Flagship” over in Orange County.

Those Flagship partisans fancied themselves “an intellectually superior sleeping giant”.   A throwaway quip confusing amphibious and ambidextrous was PERFECT to capsule the stereotype that:

“NC State farm boys who drive tractors, dip Skoal, and probably have sex with domesticated farm animals” ….. also don’t know the difference between two big words.  Ergo, ALL NC State athletes, faculty, staff, alumni and fans are, by broadbrush guilt-by-association, also really stoopid too. ….. …. snicker, snort, giggle, giggle.

Jim Valvano passed away in 1993.   His “amphibious” quip has, arguably, been quoted as much / more than “Never Give Up” ….. or “Three things you should do each day.”  Certainly more so along beautiful Franklin Street and wherever two or more Tar Heel fans gather since around 1987.   That is coming up on 30 years, but whose counting?

Just that word – “Amphibious” – even if said in a Biology class about newts or salamanders, never fails to get a snort and a snicker from a Tar Heel partisan.  It is Pavlovian.

Alas, it is equally Pavlovian in a “fingernails on a blackboard” way to NC State partisans.   The circumstances of Jim Valvano’s dying and his valiant final years have far eclipsed the indiscretions that led to his dismissal as NC State Basketball Coach.   The mere word “amphibious” goes to those indiscretions when said sneeringly by a rabid hated-rival fan.

After almost 30 years, one can see how “it’s gotten kinda old”.   But NOT to a snickering snorting goggle-eyed mouth-breathing dimwitted board monkey who realizes, even after almost 30 years, just saying “amphibious” still “gets to most State fans”.

Lose five football games in a row; just snort “Amphibious” and somehow that “evens it up”.??   To quote the old-timer ….. “That old dog still hunts”.  So long as that’s the case, keep using it.

Which brings us to “Aluminum”.

Early symptoms of aluminum toxicity include flatulence, headaches, colic, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, tendencies for colds, burning pain in the head relieved by food, heartburn and an aversion to meat. Later symptoms include paralytic muscular conditions, loss of memory and mental confusion.

After 30 years of not so passively enduring “Amphibious”, have NC State partisans now got their very own “A” word to use as a one word sledge-hammer retort / insult against their hated rivals to the West?

To those 1% or 2% that don’t know what “Aluminum” means in this rivalry….

It refers to: Empty Kenan Stadium

A prolific preponderance of Empty Seats “amid the pines” in Kenan Stadium for a UNC Tar Heel Football game.  The bleachers in Kenan Stadium are made out of “aluminum”.   When a TV camera pans the stadium or a photograph reveals a significant number of “empty seats” / “aluminum” that means:

All UNC alumni / fans (Wal-Marters and otherwise) are sorry, no-count fair-weather, bandwagon human debris for not coming out to support their football team.   THAT is a High Crime meriting The Death Penalty but John Swofford is a no-count dirty bird ……”  snicker, snort, giggle, giggle.

The taunt is, obviously, most effective during times when NC State football fans are filling their own stadium proving they are NOT, by definition, also  “ sorry, no-count ………. debris”.

That happens to be the case so far in 2015 so the word “Aluminum” is popping up A LOT among NCSU partisans and in Internet feces-flinging between rival gangs of dim-witted goobers which both fan bases have in equal abundance, apparently.

Taunts such as “Amphibious” or “Aluminum” don’t have to relate to current circumstances to be hurled back & forth.

AmphibAlumni

A never-before-seen image of “Mr. Amphibious” sitting on Kenan’s aluminum

UNC “student-athletes” have certainly had high-profile instances of “un-smart” behavior requiring special adaptations of standard academic practices.    Ya Reckon?   Is there a Swahili word for “Amphibious”?   WHAMO!

Likewise the turnout for NC State Basketball, other than when hated rivals come in, reveals a lot of whatever PNC seats are made from.

This past week,  a UNC Football player named “Bug” made an impassioned appeal to UNC partisans to spend $50-60/person to come out in 90 degree heat or in an all-day rain to watch him and his teammates play “The Fighting Blue Hens” or one of The Big Ten “I” schools.   He noted that 20,000 DO come out and pay to watch UNC Basketball play whozits.

For the record, even the most blindly-partisan Wolfpackers allows that “at least 20,000” also do turn-out for UNC Football in Kenan Stadium (cap. 60,000).   The same “20,000”???

As more comfortable Fall weather arrives with “opponents you’ve heard of”, MAYBE there will be less “aluminum” visible “amid the pines”…. or maybe not.   Again, Reality won’t matter.

When it comes to taunting one’s hated rival – be it Amphibious or Aluminum – if the taunt doesn’t really apply…..

Just Yell IT LOUDER and with more vitriol in your snarl.

 

PS:  Speaking of John Swofford.   Mr Commissioner will be this Wednesday’s speaker at The Raleigh Sports Club.   Google Raleigh Sports Club for info on when/where/how.  Guests are welcome.   I will attending as 58WK’s guest.

I am considering unveiling my new nickname for The Swoff – “The Tri-Lateral Commissioner” – because his name gets linked to so many conspiracy theories.

What do you think?

###

BobLee

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Biff Blumley
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Biff Blumley

My personal favorite Wuffie taunt is “Better Ag, than Fag”.
As they say, if the shoe fits, wear it. And you know what they say about big feet!

Biff – UNC-CH NAMBLA President

BL, why has Art stopped coming to meetings? We miss his connections with Sandusky.

MTNMAN34
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MTNMAN34

You very aptly diagnosed the attendance problem some years ago as being caused by two things: 1. The difference between the spectators and the gladiators, and 2. Big Screen TV. Neither is likely to ever change.

PTH
Guest

I believe “The Carolina Way” equating to bragging while cheating has actually become the retort to “amphibious” rather than “aluminum”.

Porgie
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Porgie

Hate to disappoint WOLFCHICK, but Shack did make the ‘amphibious’ reference in a post game interview with either Packer or Thacker after State had defeated Clemson in a Saturday afternoon game in either ’85 or ’86. I believe it was Packer that commented that Shack had used his left hand more in that game than before. Packer did try to get him to use the proper word. But even at 6′ 9″, it went way over his head. Being a fellow Kinstonian, you know we are always proud when one of our locals does good. Ha Ha! By the way,… Read more »

Wolfdon
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Wolfdon

Painting the seats red doesn’t really work for the Carter when on TV, the third quarter is always visibly highlighted by the multitude of missing fans who are seemingly obsessed with returning to the parking lot for another piece of chicken and alcoholic beverage. Empty seats are readily apparent to viewers and somewhat puzzling to DD.

unctarheel1984
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unctarheel1984

Credit the “engineers” for being smart enough to cover a great portion of The Carter in red seat backs. If UNC ponied up the money to replace or paint its aluminum with Carolina blue a lot of this commentary would fade away. Too busy funding new self-investigations, I suppose.

NCSU68Grad
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NCSU68Grad

As an “En-ger-near”, that would be quite a feat. The “red backs” on the seats are a PAID FOR option. So if you put your fanny on the “Al-you-minnie-yum” and want a seatback, as well as a seatbutt….you pay for it. The scientific method of estimating densities (UNC Trained Dermatologists do it all the time when they measure freckles or treat basal carcinoma cells) is simple. You pick an area….count the number or the absences (lack thereof). Then you make sure that you sample fits the population….and do the math. I SUSPECT that there are several courses or techniques that… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

Cover your eyes BobLee. We have an aluminum solution. Paint the stadium seats and concrete, the whole kitten kaboodle, argyle. That would surely create a tingle running down the pants legs and pant suits of every Tar Heel and give the TV folks something to talk about during those pesky disputed call delays and replays. It would look good from a blimp too. Now be nice! 🙂

Old MacDonald
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Old MacDonald

I’m not sure I buy “aluminum” as a partisan figment. As you have documented, college football attendance almost everywhere has changed for the worse over the past 5-10 years, for various reasons you have already gone over. This shift has hit some teams worse than others. I would argue that it has hit UNC a lot worse than most. I have no idea why. I honestly think State would be in the same boat were it not for our “tailgating culture” — people keep attending for the fun of the day, with the game a side note — a good… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

I am surprised this is just now becoming a meme out there. I can remember as far back as 20 years or so the same type of things being discussed in Charlotte for the Hornets and the Panthers when they were having less than stellar years. Chapel Hill folk are notorious bandwagon type fans, and it does not just apply to the teams at the school.

wolfchick
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wolfchick

You just wrote the smack talking UNCCH fan taunts using a quote that actually never happened (amphibious never was uttered by Shack) and NC State smack talkers use a taunt that actually is true most of the time (aluminum seems to be very prevalent most times I catch a UNCCH football game on TV).
If there is a moral high ground to taunting, does that mean State taunters have it?
😉

Doug
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Doug

Time will tell if argyle ® and aluminum will become interchangeable terms to the ABC nation(s). Aluminum Nation, Argyle Nation. Nation when referring to sports fans is obnoxious enough all by it’s lonesome. I recently learned that argyle ® is not a personal favorite of yours. ? It could be worse though. Black jerseys and big foot decal chrome come to mind. FWIW, Pirate ABC’ers are touting the fact that close to 50K showed up (maybe 45K-48K fannies in seats) and stayed in sold out Dowdy Ficklen Stadium to watch ECU-VA TECH in a quagmire. What they won’t say is,… Read more »

TheCowdog
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TheCowdog

Non-flingers get a kick out of Aluminum, too. More because of the announced attendance prevarications than anything else. So…Friday I’m gathered with a few chums, one being a former DII AA, and NFLer. He’s also the proud pop of a Tarheel FBer. The subject of TGU came up and he said “It’s over, nothing’s gonna happen.” Curious, coming from a pretty sharp guy. “What makea you say that?” Says I. “The NCAA didn’t find anything. Well, maybe soccer and women’s….” I broke off the conversation, wondering what methods of mind control were used on my friend. Ya know those small… Read more »

NCSU68Grad
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NCSU68Grad

Alas and Alack…..Hate to be the first….but other projects call. The Aluminum Controversy will rage….until the mighty Kenan is filled. SO, that ought to be good column fodder for your grandkids when they take over the site…. You are probably correct on the Amphibious line. BK and Mr. Peeler would have to do your research. It was Cozell McQueen (remember when we thought Cozell was strange for a first name for a young AA…) that SUPPOSEDLY uttered the “Why’d you pick NCSU…..Wanted to get out of the South…” comment. But, that may be a JV zinger. You commented about my… Read more »

fayettewuf
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fayettewuf

The amphibious comment has been debated for years on the State boards. Some even claim to have heard the interview. My opinion is based on Charles’ apparent dearth of 2 syllable words in his vocabulary. How could he trot out a malaprop using a 4 syllable word. Whether he did or not, it rates right behind ‘did Meriwether Lewis kill himself or not’ on my burning questions list. As for the aluminum buzzword, I really can fault UNC fans for not attending what has become almost a preseason lineup since I just cannot get interested until State plays someone. By… Read more »

Lakepacker
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Lakepacker

Is it possible that the Swahili word for “amphibious” is “arrove”? Just a thought and keeping it all in perspective.

Frank Linstreet
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Frank Linstreet

The perfect visual would be if you could photoshop Ol’ Shack sitting all alone in one of Kenan’s empty sections…. holding up Both Hands !!

Chip
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Chip

Hi BobLee,
You forgot the far more prominent “A word” in Chapel Hill – African-American studies.

RowdyBlueTarHeeler
Guest

The Rams Club sealed the deal for me, when, about 5-6 years ago they demanded a 500% increase in club dues for me to retain the rights to purchase the 4 Kenan Stadium seats we had paid for and sat in for over 20 years’ perfect attendance. It was real easy to say no…