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
  • Biff Blumley Reply
    2 years ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      OK.

  • MTNMAN34 Reply
    2 years ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      CORRECTOMUNDO! The spec / gladi chasm ever widens…. and Big Screens keep getting Bigger and Cheaper.

  • PTH Reply
    2 years ago

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

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      That would certainly be on “the short list”.

  • Porgie Reply
    2 years ago

    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, those RED seats in CF are paid for by the ‘owner’ of the seats. Over in the pine thicket, some of the $10 mil spent on lawyers, PR groups, etc could have been used to provide another color other than aluminum. But that’s another story.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      The Did he/ Didn’t he of Amphibious has become so entangled in the fog of history as to be undecidable. … As I know is I’m pretty sure Kennel wrote V’s ESPN specch.… on an envelope on a train to Gettysburg.

  • Wolfdon Reply
    2 years ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      How many college stadiums still allow halftime pass-outs ???

  • unctarheel1984 Reply
    2 years ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      I am on-record suggesting that some years ago. Also, The Blue Zone seating is totally exposed to view and to weather (heat, rain etc). Most VIP areas are tucked under upper decks and out-of-sight. Fat Cats will always tend to stay in A/C areas with buffets rather than sit in assigned seating.

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      2 years ago

      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 are considered very reliable in use in Chapel Hill.
      Bottom line, YES, BL is correct. When the sun rises on CF on Saturday, the attendance numbers will be virtually “cast in concrete”, because MOST of the allotted tickets have been picked up and/or sales OTC are finished. It WILL probably be a Sell-Out….the past two Cup Cake games were around 99.9X%.
      However, as a trained observer (credentials are available offline), my guestimates of the past two games is that about 90 – 95% of the seats were filled at one time. SO, unless the WPC rounded up folks and bussed them in (Paul Anlyn tactic) and had them randomly occupy seats, then my guestimates are pretty close. Besides, the TV Camera’s and such were pretty convincing. There were numerous crowd panning shots showing the near capacity attendance and the announcers extolling the WP Home audience for the Loyalty of the WPF.
      SO, we were not as tricky as you would expect. YES, some of the additional seats are RED….but the MAIN area is Al. Maybe UNC should get Alex Jullian to do a new “Al & White” theme.
      As the President has been known to say, when pinned down on pesky facts….”It is what it is and I am NOT apologizing for it”. Maybe Chanc Folt and AD Bubba need the high $$ PR firm to train them on how to say that…
      I did say….at ONE time. YES, there are vacancies in the beginning and after the halftime. I’m NOT sure who DD is, but AD Yow would probably be more than happy to hear your comments on the “pass out” protocol. Her email is public record….and she WILL answer….at almost anytime of the day or night. WE are THERE. We bought our Tickets and GO to the GAMES….just as ORW tells the UNC folks to do…

      • BobLee Reply
        2 years ago

        I believe DD is Dave Doeren who has already delivered his annual “I don’t like the halftime pass-out policy” speech.
        .
        “How UNC figures Kenan attendance” is simply another brick in the foundation of Wuff Lore about UNC. If it wasn’t that it would be something else. I suggest a rival board monkey be appointed to count attendance at each stadium.

      • Doug Reply
        2 years ago

        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! 🙂

        • BobLee Reply
          2 years ago

          I will go for painting it all “seersucker”. At least the upper level corners.

  • Old MacDonald Reply
    2 years ago

    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 thing because most years, “good football” is not being played by the home team. Why does this not happen at UNC? Seems like it would.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      IMO… there is definitely TGU Fatique in play @ Kenan. Also, LF has not proven to be The Next Big Thing. This year COULD be a 8-9 W year of course… as State looks likely to be. For all of Kenan’s “beautiful amid the pines” on-campus setting it has never been a Top Tailgating venue. …. The national concern re: in-stadium attendance does not have a likely solution. Interest in BTCF is very high…. but the proliferation of HDTV and sports channels has really impacted “going to the game”.
      .
      The true test for UNC FB interest comes now with Fall weather and ACC opponents AND apparently a “good” team. We shall see….

  • Doug Reply
    2 years ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      The term “Wal-Mart fan” is also not original to this rivalry. It is used in the same context in numerous “we hate’em” situations around the country.
      .
      By comparison…. in its 81 Home Games this season, The Cardinals drew OVER 40,000 for each game. Busch Stadium seats “about 43,000”. Thats over 40,000 EACH game, not an average. OVER 40,000 went away VERY disappointed yesterday due to a complete 9th inning COLLAPSE vs The Brewers.

  • wolfchick Reply
    2 years ago

    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?
    😉

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      Proving, I suppose, your firm belief that State fans are simply much better human beings than UNC fans. “Reality” and “never happened” are not in any taunting fan dictionary.
      .
      For “never happened” I keep searching for a State fan that admits “having sex with domesticated farm animals”. I’ve never found one yet; but people in Chapel Hill say I haven’t met all State fans yet.

  • Doug Reply
    2 years ago

    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, like NCSU BB, if Tulsa had been the opponent ECU couldn’t have paid 20K to show up in those conditions. Aluminum is not exclusive to UNC. Amphibious either. You, Mary and Jay proved that.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      I “get” Amphibious and Aluminum as snarky taunts. I don’t “get” Argyle. Yes, I know its a slam at the Alex Julian uni-design blah blah. Making a BFD about that is stoopid and idiotic IMO. Hopefully I NEVER figure out the twisted circuitry of a board monkey’s mind. The day I do, I’m chugging a can of drain cleaner.
      .
      Whoever is In Charge of “The Official Hate UNC 24/7” Campaign at NCSU might want to consider streamlining their campaign. Since UNC Admins don’t listen to me, I doubt NCSU’s will either. 🙂

      • Doug Reply
        2 years ago

        You’re right, Argyle will likely never gain traction from opposing board monkeys. For me though the timing of the argyle re-branding just adds to more of the silliness, coming as it did on the heels of all the turmoil of dueling reports and bad news from the Martin Report, Wainstein, Cheated, SACS, etc. Argyle probably pairs well with Carolina Way Wine, Blue Zoners, old farts, label ribboners, and the Southern Ivy crowd but doesn’t seem to bode well for the Escalade medallion loving 18 year old semi-illiterates needed to compete on the field or hardwood.

        • BobLee Reply
          2 years ago

          Yeah. I doubt too many “bruthas” go in for “argyle” or anything Alex Julian designs. Not too much Seersucker in “da hood”. Another disparity between Gladiators and Spectators ….

  • TheCowdog Reply
    2 years ago

    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 geology sample boxes that were around when we were kids? I can’t remember if it contained Aluminum, but darn sure it had Uranium
    . That didn’t make much sense, either.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      I have A LOT of Holocaust Denier stories like that. Very Scary !!!

  • NCSU68Grad Reply
    2 years ago

    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 “Gee….isn’t this interesting” fascination with UNC’s “Attendance Gate” situation. As you know, I strive to be correct and don’t fling around factoids that are unsubstantiated. I think that you also quipped or perhaps said that the FB attendance numbers had been “questionable or inflated” for 30 years.
    I guess that is OK or socially acceptable if you put it in the perspective of which is worse….TGU (paper classes, Bling, whatever). Sort of like the Democratic Publicist that made the following comment….”The difference between Bill and Hillary is that Bill, for all his foibles, is a Believable Phony and we accept that, but Hillary is a Phony Phony and we have difficulties defending that….”. NOW I got it…
    FWIW, I DID check out the source and the methodology for the NCSU Attendance Numbers in the Official Box Score on the WP site. It is the number of SOLD and Distributed (to Students) Tickets.
    As to the Fat Cats that don’t show up in the PNC in the lower levels, they are FC just like UNC. MOST are business seats and are for customers, family or clients. The “cost” of getting seats down there would be very heavy….you would have to have a very high priority number which means that you would have to donate almost a 6 figure amount….same as what it will take to get a motor home spot at CF. I do NOT have a business where I can write that off.
    The WPC DOES send out emails and sometimes personal calls when those seats are repeatedly left vacant. Maybe that will improve if the W-L record improves….in 2003, when the Lads in Lt. Blue were not doing well, it was very easy to get DES seats….but as things have improved, so has the attendance. NOW there is a lesson here….perhaps Bubba and Larry will see the connection. Bug certain did. I have also been told that NCSU and UNC have compared notes as to HOW to keep the stands filled….since Kenan was such a glowing example of lack of support. The “Blue Ticket” Exchange was not a glowing success story….according to the folks in the WPC that talked personally with their Rams counterparts.
    As Johnny Carson would say about jokes on the same subject….this is 2….you got ONE left. BUT, Leno discarded that rule the first night he hosted “The Tonight Show….with Jay Leno” and it did not seem to hurt his career….so you may have ample opportunity to do Aluminum Columns. The N&O milked a Roundtable Article over the weekend on this…

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      The Great Aluminum/Attendance Controversy will RAGE regardless of Kenan filling. Todd Fuller didn’t abate Amphibious. Once a goggle-eyed loonie gets a “taunt” stuck in his teeth, he NEVER lets it go. Its part of their “charm”.
      .
      The Kenan Attendance Flim Flam will continue DESPITE using ticket scanners for an EXACT “thru-the-gate” count with one keystroke. At Sunrise on Gameday, there are 26,000 “on-hand” because thats the season tic #s. If they no-show, they all still count for that game. If that is illegal or immoral or grounds for being tarred/feathered I’m not aware.

  • fayettewuf Reply
    2 years ago

    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 the way, I noticed that letter at that Carrboro site that Chansky writes for was linked on Pack Pride. Some goober named E B Phillips tees off on you. He sets the intellectual tone early by noting that Bob is a palindrome. It goes downhill from there.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      Repeat anything enough times and someone will believe it. Usually “three times” is enough for IT’S A FACT on the Internet.
      .
      Yeah, I saw that Chapelboro letter. No clue who EB is. And, obviously EB has no clue who I am. At least he didn’t demean my Mamma. As “Mary” and I kid one another…. attracting the likes of an EB Phillips is “why we make the Big Bucks” …. 🙂

  • Lakepacker Reply
    2 years ago

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

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      We’ll have to ask Marvin. My four semester of ForLang was Latin. As well as two years of Latin w/ Miss Tesch at GHS. 🙂

  • Frank Linstreet Reply
    2 years ago

    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 !!

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      Ol’ Shack “holding up both hands” has become a regular repeat for him about every 5-6 years. The last time was “sex with an under-age minor” …. “possession of a controlled substance” …. AND a 9 mm under the drivers seat. The Myrtle Beach PD has quite a Shack-file.

  • Chip Reply
    2 years ago

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

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      Giving “fans who live to taunt” too many choices tends to confuse them. Plus AfAm has that hyphen which could also confuse’em. But I’m just suggesting Aluminum. Alas, I am NOT the Judge in this one.

  • RowdyBlueTarHeeler Reply
    2 years ago

    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…

    • BobLee Reply
      2 years ago

      Every Big Time School that has done “that” seems to “do it” at THE WORST possible time when their program is in a “downturn”. I have friends at Mizzou that live in Columbia and have not been back to a game since Mizzou Admins did that in 1972.

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