Accepting Defeat

Well folks, another season goes into the record books and like most Tar Heels, I am licking my wounds this morning. I considered writing this article last night but that was not a good idea. It's amazing what time can do to temper a negative event such as the debacle against Penn State.

Over the 60 odd years I have been a Tar Heel fan, I have developed various methods of accepting disappointing losses. Maybe I should use the word adjusting to losses because I have no alternative to accepting the defeat. I have talked my self into believing that as long as Carolina looks good in losing, I am all right. I'm not sure I really believe this but it makes me feel better to say that I do. I certainly can't say that Carolina's performance yesterday made me feel good in any sense of the word. We played like the team I saw against Kentucky and that ain't good. I hesitate to say it but they looked like the team that represented us last year which was one of the most difficult years to accept since I first became a Tar Heel supporter.

I was so distraught over the ACC final against Duke that I actually placed my emotions into "neutral" before the Princeton game. By neutral I mean I just sat back and said "Que sera, sera" if I remember my French correctly. I didn't expect anything positive and if it came it would be a pleasant surprise. Wouldn't you know that in Richmond on Friday night they switched from the UNC game to the Notre Dame-Xavier contest. My friend and I have decided that it was a religious conspiracy since both schools are of the Catholic faith. If it's not, then somebody high up in the CBS hierarchy must have gone to Notre Dame and made the decision to pull UNC from the Richmond market because I have no doubt there was more interest here in the UNC-Princeton game than there was in the ND-Xavier game.

One of the most painful periods following a loss is when it is in the ACC championships and we have to wait until the CBS selection show at 6:30. Such a helpless feeling waiting to find out where and against whom we will be playing.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am not very pleasant to be around for the first few hours after a loss. I have a couple of friends, however, who insist on calling me after a loss even though I have invited them not to. One of them accepts the fact that I don't want to talk but he doesn't think it applies to him. Mrs. RamFanatic mans the phone and tries to be diplomatic but the callers are sometimes pitiful. It's as though I am the doctor and they need medical care and I am denying them the needed attention. I have often thought that the situation is sort of like when you would get hurt as a child and would go to one of your parents for comfort. I love these people but I've got my own problems to work through and I don't want to focus my attention on them during this very trying period.

A couple of quick post game stories. I got a telephone call from a work associate at halftime of the Notre Dame-Carolina game in 1977 when Carolina trailed in the score. I wouldn't take the call and he never forgave me. It didn't bother me that much because the man had never called me before in his life and I wasn't that close to him at work. I knew he wasn't a UNC supporter and figured I knew what kind of "encouraging words" he would offer me. He later claimed h just wanted to tell me that Carolina was going to come back and win which they did. In another instance, a work associate called me immediately after UVa. had defeated UNC to tell me that his wife had experienced a fall and he thought I would want to know. He said the call had nothing to do with the game because he said he didn't "give a damn" who won. Interesting that this call would come right after the game and his son just happened to attend UVa Law School.

So all of us are gong to have to find other things to do while waiting for the opening practice next October. It reminds me of what Tommy LaGarde said when the team returned from the Championship game in 1977 which we lost to Al McGuire and his Marquette team. When asked to say a few words when the team returned to campus, LaGarde said it was time to move on to something else important, like softball. What a brilliant thing to say and to put things into proper perspective. Even though I just about gag sometimes when I say it, "It's only a game."

My blood sugar this morning was 105 down from a high of 218. I must confess that at breakfast yesterday morning, I consumed one of those little plastic containers of jelly on my toast. That's the only sugar I have consciously consumed in 10 days. I wonder how much longer it will be before I can have a Krispy Kreme.