The End of an Era ?

End of an Era
BobLee
May01/ 2021

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May 1, 2021

The End of an Era ? …

No !!!  Today’s title has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the future of BobLeeSays.com .

Yes, I have been quiet for a few weeks … busily preoccupied with fishing – audible reading – grandchildren – and more fishing and more audiobooks.

Did I mention I caught a 3 lb catfish at Lake Wheeler this past Wednesday… using a squarebill crankbait.

As with Mark Twain’s Death … any concerns of BLSays’ demise are greatly exaggerated.  I, and this website, COULD very well outlive the US Constitution – The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights at the rate America is under attack by a sinister unduly elected government. … sigh.

As you read this Blondie and I are spending a few days at Lake Gaston on the NC/VA border.   Kid’s TeamMadison is becoming Team Richmond in three weeks.   (My hopes of catching a Wisconsin “muskie” are fading fast.)  We are scouting out convenient weekend getaways for the seven of us.  Moving right along …

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Do you know …

Who was Horace McKinney …

What unique biographical note do Sonny Jurgenson and Roman Gabriel share …

Where you were on March 23, 1957 …

What does the “C” in C.D. Chesley stand for …

Did you ever listen to the Dixie Classic and/or ACC Tournament on a transistor radio in grade school …

What states did Frank McGuire and Everett Case come from …

Where did Peahead Walker take Bill George when George came to visit Wake Forest …

Were you among the 100,000s who were there when – (1) “Skywalker” crashed head first on the court at Reynolds … (2) “Sweetness” hit the shot vs Duke in “down 8 with 17 seconds to play”

Which Vic Bubas players came from Missoula, Montana and Sea Girt, New Jersey?

Who vowed to make Maryland “The UCLA of The East” …

Why did Terry Holland name his dog “Dean”…

Can you sing the first verse of Sail With The Pilot

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OK, I could go on … and on … and on

If you can correctly answer even half of those You were probably born before 1955 … and The Grim Reaper is taking your friends and classmates at an ever-increasing rate these days.

I lost another “good friend” this last week with three others fighting cancer … Damn, I hate “cancer”.

For the past 60+ years You … and I … and our contemporaries have been the core fanbase of “Tobacco Road” Basketball.

With all due respect to Kentucky , Indiana and The Wooden Dynasty at UCLA … The geographical uniqueness of this area has been the quintessential “Hotbed of College Basketball”.

Tobacco Road Basketball grew as we grew … from a fascination with UNC 57 and The Dixie Classic as kids growing up across North Carolina in the 50s … to our college days of the 60s … as we began our adult careers in the 70-80s … striving to move high enough in the Wolfpack Club, Iron Dukes, Rams Club, Deacon Club to “get cherished ACC Tournament tickets” or primo seats in our respective arenas.

Whether “it” all started with Everett Case coming to State or UNC 1957 or whatever combination of cosmic convergences you prefer … the “hated” rivalries … the championships … the personalities of the coaches and players over these past 60 years have given this area an image as enduring – or more so – as Barbecue and NASCAR.

Is the Era of Tobacco Road Basketball as we have known it this half-century plus falling victim to the same fate as attendance at our high school reunions? 

As “important” (??) as ACC Basketball was for many/most of us for so many years … it simply isn’t any more.

I am NOT basing that on my personal disinterest to the point I still cannot name a single Tobacco Road player from this past season. If my Life Trek has taught me anything it is that I dance to a slightly different drummer than most folks.   It took me 50 years to accept that fact as “just how it is”.  50 years of trying to put a round peg in a square hole.  Maybe a few of you’ans can sympathize with me on that.

NASCAR’s Rise & Decline has preceded Tobacco Road Basketball by a few years.  As the Good Ol’Boys from Western NC – Petty, Yarborough, Jarrett, Baker, Earnhart, Wallace and their contemporaries across the South – Pearson, Allison, et al aged out … NASCAR morphed into something else.   It lost its “It Factor” … and is not likely to regain it.   Every major speedway has drastically reduced its seating capacity as public interest as dwindled.

I am NOT going to get into specifics of why I Think The Era of Tobacco Road Basketball is over … but you are welcome to offer Your Opinions below … as always.

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NOTE:  Did You Hear … Mark Gottfried has been suspended indefinitely as Head Coach at Cal State-NorthRidge for unspecified irregularities.   A few more unspecified irregularities and Mark’s rap sheet will be almost as long as UNC’s notorious Larry Brown’s … OUCH!

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I’m sure some of you are as passionate as ever and Live/Die Game By Game as you have for these 50+ years … but there ain’t nearly as many of you out there as there used to be.  Just as some of you are forever stuck in a long dead paradigm that “politics” is the same as it’s always been… and cite contentious races and corrupt scoundrels over the years.

As “Baby Boomers” we have been “the pig swallowed by the boa constrictor” for 50-60-70 years … we have been “the straw that stirred America’s economy” for all these years.

We simply aren’t any more … and we haven’t been for a decade plus. And we are less so with each passing day.

Sitting on our front porch yelling “You kids get off my lawn” … or standing on the sidewalk throwing rocks at passing cars might ease the frustration but won’t change reality.

A year or so ago I wrote about the decline of the legendary “barbecue joints” across the state.  Again … The Grim Reaper harvesting the men and women who dedicated their lives to the 20 hour days required of “the business”.   The upcoming generations simply not “into making that commitment”.

We have never been where We are today on the Time/Age Continuum  … Our parents were … as were their parents … one day our children will be assuming some damn fool doesn’t blow up the world which is not as unlikely a possibility as it used to be.

OK … Two more Do You Knows …

What Hollywood starlet was linked with Larry Miller?

Why was Reynolds Coliseum (and Cameron Indoor) laid out longways rather than as a square?

“… sail with the pilot at the wheel on a ship sturdy from its mast to its keel.  … so get onboard the Pilot ship Today.”

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More BobLee Says … CLICK HERE

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Dudley Moore
2 months ago

Very late chiming in, but I do have a thought about college basketball’s popularity in NC. I, like you, have pretty much lost interest, and I do find that a bit depressing. When I was younger, I lived for those games, and, yes, I know the words to “Sail with the Pilot.” As for whom/what to blame, I can’t say if it is that expansion pretty much killed the relevance/dominance of the Big Four, or is a result of my Wolfpack’s multiple decades of mediocrity and ineptitude. I’m inclined to give each of those 50% of the responsibility. However, I… Read more »

Dr Wire
2 months ago

Good stuff, as always! The era of Tobacco Road Basketball is over AS WE KNEW IT. We have aged out of the demographics used to to make decisions to promote, support, broadcast and engage into a bedrock of the triangle’s sports history. The last nail for our link to the past is when K retires either before or after the NCAA seeks to investigate Zion’s $ trail of airfare and living expenses from Adidas as they did with State’s only one and gone to NBA, DSmith. Interesting to me how Nike has avoided this kind of publicity; got to be… Read more »

former96heel
former96heel
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Oh, boxing is the perfect historical reference. 100 years ago, it and baseball were THE sports, maybe horse racing as well. People attended bouts locally everywhere. Then radio and TV brought the fights to people’s homes, and the audience was as large as the sporting public’s interest at large. Evolve into the big heavyweight fights of the 60/70’s, and then Tyson’s era, and you had maybe 1% of the sporting public interested by 2000, but a large portion curious on the big events. . The paradox is, today, I doubt 1 in 1000 can name the heavyweight champions, but the… Read more »

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  former96heel

There may be (yet another) book title in “If they can make more money selling trash than art, they will.”

Great points on Mayweather fighting internet guy, just a matter of time before the line is completely blurred between boxing/UFC/ and Pro Wrestling. At least the old school guys like Rick Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Jim Cornette were fun to watch.

fayettewuf
fayettewuf
2 months ago

Few of us are as unique as we like to think. In my humble opinion as it is many people’s, college basketball is about to lose a dramatic number of fans. Few things do not change with the passage of time. I vowed not be to become that man who gets bitter because the world is not the same as when he was young. . As for C.J.’s problem, it was predictable. If they reshot, Nanook of the North, there would be an African-Inuit in the igloo. I think of it as a make up call. Some day people will… Read more »

Ben in MO
Ben in MO
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

I like seeing black folks portrayed in “normal” situations as family members and co-workers. Too many times they have been portrayed as “gangsters” and “thugs”. Applying the “If you can see it, you can be it” rule, this will help to normalize them, both in their own image of themselves and in the images of the larger community. Over time, persuasion is the most effective means of cultural change. . Smoking and drunk driving are two examples of how cultural norms were changed through persuasion. Sure, people still smoke and drive drunk, but society actively disapproves of those behaviors now… Read more »

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Ben in MO

No doubt the black community needs men Like Dr. Tom Sowell, Tony Dungy, and Walter Williams a lot more than they need Lebron James. But to Bob’s point, portraying black men and women as intellectually superior to everyone else fails to send the right message or expectations to anyone. As a wise pastor once said “false flattery is every bit the sin that defamation is.”

70sTarheel
70sTarheel
2 months ago

1) NASCAR died when Earnhardt did.
2) ACC MBB TV was over when Packer and Thacker broke up.
3) Mayberry ceased to exist when Barney moved to Raleigh.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  70sTarheel

I think there’s a book title in “When Barney moved to Raleigh”.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago

I “tried out” for a job with local Wilmington espn radio in the early 2000’s, one of the reasons I lost the contest was their nascar guy didn’t like my answer to his question “will nascar someday overtake the NFL in popularity”. Seemed rather obvious to any person with half a wad of common sense that nascar was already grossly overextended by that point and would be tumbling down soon enough. But that guy is probably still out there railing about the superiority of nascar somewhere. . Speaking as a State fan who grew up at Reynolds with V, Corch,… Read more »

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

No question Nascar getting away from their fan base of guys who built houses/repair automobiles and trying to win the hearts of Doctor’s and lawyers in the big metro areas was a big factor in Nascar losing its way. The product is not that great, its awe inspiring in person but it doesn’t translate well at all to TV. . And you are 100% accurate on the boomers aging out, I also credit all the wonderful alternatives we have now to espn and raycom. 20 years ago I would most definitely sit through a Tuesday night GT vs. WF basketball… Read more »

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Me either, but when I occasionally catch a glimpse of my Wife watching it, seems like a lot of woke nonsense. Tiny little lady detectives karate kicking bad guys amid storylines that emphasize how bad any person of color has it in America, thanks to the evil white patriarchy. Basically the same thing you’d see on ABC/NBC/CBS news.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rob
Edward
Edward
2 months ago

Yvette Mimeaux , was she there with Dr. Kildare ?

Chip
Chip
2 months ago

Speaking of barbecue joints, if you’re ever on I-64 outside of Williamsburg, Va you must stop by Pierce’s BBQ. Was on the road from the People’s Republic of DC to Norfolk and stopped there for the first time in a year. Place is always packed and noted in several magazines.

Doug
Doug
2 months ago

I was not in William Neal Reynolds Coliseum when DT flipped on his head but was watching a Castleman D Chesley production on TV and don’t know why it’s laid out longways or anything about Larry Miller’s love life but suspect it wasn’t boring. Other than that I knew the answers and you are in the ballpark of my birth year. Tobacco has faded and will continue to decline. I suspect the same for Big 4 MBB. It’s been down to two for quite awhile. Bonus. I was in Carmichael Auditorium for the 7 points in 17 seconds win over… Read more »

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

The D in CD’s name…DeTolley. Had to look that up. Three In The Attic was the film I never saw. Wonder if Yvette had the lasagna at The Rathskeller?

Queen City
Queen City
2 months ago

I grew up in NC so I only identified NASCAR as Winston Cup racing. I attended a race in Charlotte of few years ago and noticed that the track had roped off a section in one of the concourses as their designated smoking area. I’m not a smoker but it was the perfect analogy on how they abandoned their core consumers. The race itself was boring as to be expected with the cars in a constant 10 yard spread for 3 hours. At that point I had officially given up on NASCAR but decided to dive back in last year… Read more »

Jay Light
2 months ago

Pilot insurance. I, like many others had to pay 25 cents a year for school insurance underwritten by Jefferson Pilot, and get my little green insurance card. . I have little interest any longer in college football, pro football, never did care for pro basketball. I thought it might be having lived in Florida for so many years after retiring from the Navy, but it is much more than that. . NASCAR isn’t interesting, all the tracks pretty much the same except Daytona, Talledega and Darlington. Boring races and now road courses? If I wanted to see road courses I… Read more »

VF.
VF.
2 months ago

I know the answer to almost all the questions, because I am as old as you……………
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You are right on the target about basketball and football. I have lost almost all interest in them both.
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We have a friend/neighbor who has a daughter playing soccer for UNC and another whose son plays baseball for the Heels, so I spend my time following those 2 sports and the other non-revenue producing ones………..

BabsInDerm
BabsInDerm
2 months ago

Definitely the end of an era we never thought would die. . I have a book, you’re probably aware of, called, “The Four Corners,” about the big four that set the standard for the ACC, starting with Everett Case coming from being a high school coach in IN. Great stories about the coaches, great players, and how the ACC evolved into being the conference everyone else wanted to be, especially after the 1957 championship for UNC. That event was responsible for the sale of a LOT of TVs. . So much history that is being lost due to home-growns dying… Read more »

Former96heel
Former96heel
2 months ago

My guess is the overexposure and early leaving are the biggest reasons for the change. Go back to 3 channels on the airwaves and 2 games per week, and we’d still know the starting five for all of the local teams.
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I was hoping you had spent your break filming your role as O.R. “Bud” Barnum in the TV series. They missed an opportunity to redeem that casting if you were not taken for the role.

Former96heel
Former96heel
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Sheriff Barnum was sheriff of Twelve Sleep County in the first few Joe Pickett novels. Before McClanahan. If they are off casting, they don’t need a western actor for his role, they need BobLee. Nate took care of Bud and someone else along the line. Tossed his body into a sulfur spring for nature to do its thing.
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I read reviews on Without Remorse on Amazon and apparently the title and character names are the only thing the movie took from the Clancy novel. Makes me ask, why pay for the rights if you rewrite the story?

Last edited 2 months ago by BobLee
Don Baucom
2 months ago

Glad to know it’s not the end of an era for BobLeeSays.com. Unfortunately, I knew the answers to too many of your questions: Bones McKinney; both QBs grew up in Wilmington and played college football in Raleigh-Durham; I was not among the 100.000+ watching” Sweet D” rip the heart out of Duke but I saw it on TV; Lefty Driesell; Terry Holland (UVA) named his dog after Dean Smith because he said the dog whined all the time; Yvette Mimieux dated Larry Miller while filming a movie in Chapel Hill. Man, am I old or what! I think Tobacco Road… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
2 months ago

Great job!! Glad to know you two took a little down time. I was giving you another week before researching your whereabouts! The western contingent was getting concerned! Presently we are all busy outside without snow and decreasesd wind, fishing, hiking and readying gardens for our 90 day growing. Sports takes a backseat now and for me stays there. We have a total lack of interest now that it is all politics, all the time. We do enjoy you two!!! Keep up the great, fun and informative stuff!!

Baby Boomer Geezer
Baby Boomer Geezer
2 months ago

Every chapter of life has things to enjoy and things to tolerate. I’m 64.6 years old. I did own a corvette just before I got too old to climb in and out of it. . I don’t get into the NC State / UNC at Chapel Hill rivalries nearly as much as I used to. But I DID make sure I selected a cardiologist who got his undergrad at NC State in BioMedical Engineering vs someone from “over there” in Chapel Hill. . I think more about how I spend my time every day, as I’m sure you do, BL.… Read more »

Bob Kennel
Bob Kennel
2 months ago

BobLee, Excellent writing as usual as well as interesting proposition on Tobacco Rd. I’m in Asheville for first grandson “groom” party before his marriage 3 July. Still grieving Elaine passing one month ago today New book out (Covering All Bases) on George Whitfield on 3 May Met his good friend and fellow HoF baseball umpire Claude Kennedy who knows you. Kinston doing good. Looking forward to Russell Wilson Commencement speeches in 2 weeks. Have 3 Granddaughters graduating from State this year (December/May). Don’t know answer for sure but have always thought extreme rectangular shape was for indoor track purposes. Even… Read more »

Dale Madren
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

BobLee, a little correction: Cameron opened in 1940, Reynolds opened in 1949(proposed in 1940, started in 1942, delayed by WWII). As you know, Reynolds is a lot “longer” than Cameron, almost like Cameron extended(more bleachers and elephants).

Dale Madren
2 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Cameron was designed by Julian Abele, who also designed the Duke West Campus, the Chapel, and the Allen administration building. He worked for, and later headed, an architectural firm in Philadelphia. . I always heard that Reynolds started as a copy of Cameron, and Everett insisted on expanding it, hence the long design with so many seats at the ends. I found an article by Lenox Rawlings that repeats that view. And I always heard, but have seen no other confirmation, that including access for the circus was required. . And, I will note–from experiences of 40+ years ago– the… Read more »

Don Winstead
Don Winstead
2 months ago

Bob, if you and the family are scouting out weekend getaways from the Triangle and fishing is a factor, you need to take a look up at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. It’s only 2 hours from the Triangle Area and offers some of the best Stripper fishing there is. Look around the Penhook & Union Hall areas on the south side of the lake for the quick 2 hour trip. You will enjoy the deep water. It’s 2/3 the size of Kerr Lake but is not used for flood control so the lake level stays steady 99% of the… Read more »

Leonard Black
2 months ago

Must say Bob , one of your best ever. Might be because I am old enough to remember most all of that. Hope you are doing great my friend and staying safe. Remember who named Bill Murray, Preacher Bill ?

PrincetonTiger
PrincetonTiger
2 months ago

So true. Not sure if it is sad or just a case of moving on. Like you I am a whole lot less interested with each passing year.
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I was waiting for the reference to Mitch dating Sharon Stone.
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Stay strong … Saty happy!

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