Dean Dome Disaster

I really look forward with a great deal of anticipation to watching BB games in the Dean Dome. Each visit, for me, is like a festival that begins around noon on game day. Part of the "game experience" for me is the ride down from Richmond, the food, riding the bus from University Mall, watching and listening to the scalpers Oh, I forgot. They are now "ticket brokers" and finally getting to my seat at least an hour before tip off. I have gotten literally obsessed with watching the DD fill up and more and more lately, I find myself preoccupied with the fact that there are so many empty seats at tip off. I haven't lived in the Triangle area in over 30 years so I really don't know from first hand experience the traffic problems being experienced which may be the culprit in this situation. I read there is gridlock twice a day on I-40 and I have difficulty imagining what that must be like. Gridlock to me means the traffic is not moving at all. Of course, it eventually moves, but the delays I hear about are frightening. A poster on another board said that for the Clemson game, he left his home in Benson at 4:30 and began what should have been a 1 hour ride to Chapel Hill. Instead of a 1 hour ride, the poster said the trip took 3 hours and he arrived at the DD at 7:30, 30 minutes after tip off. I recognize that 7:00 tip off's pose a problem for those who normally leave work at 5:00 and I am sympathetic, but it seems to me that prior arrangements could be made to leave early for the small number of homes games involved. Maybe I expect too much of others. I'm fully aware that Carolina basketball and football occupies too prominent a place in my life and I have threatened to reduce the importance of these "hobbies" to me. But, it's too late. Having been a Tar Heel fan since the age of 6, I have determined it is way past the time when I could do anything about my involvement with UNC Athletics and I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm giving lip service to wanting to reduce my involvement with UNC Athletics, but I'm not really trying. My relationship with Carolina is like a relationship with the opposite sex. One minute I want(ed) to strangle them (her) and the next moment I want(ed) to embrace them (her). Please don't go taking these statements too literally. It's just an attempt on my part to use a metaphor to explain the situation.

Now for the disaster. A couple of years ago, as I was locating my seat high above the goal end, several of us arrived at our seats at about the same time. The people we met were trying to get by us so they could reach their seats and I tried to make myself thin so they could get by. I shouldn't have done such a good job. My foot and leg somehow slipped down behind the seats on the row below us and I knew immediately I was hurt. It had never occurred to me that a space existed between the backs of the seats on the row below and the concrete walkway for the higher row. I pretended that nothing was wrong but I knew better. I felt my shin bone scrape over the concrete and I knew significant damage had been done. One of my companions asked if I was all right and I shrugged it off because I knew they were going to insist that I go to the first aid station and I wasn't about to miss the tip off.

After I got to my seat, I secretly ran my hand up my pants leg to check the damage. I had reasoned that the blood, if any, wouldn't show through my Levi's because the Levi's were light blue and as everyone knows, my blood is Carolina Blue :-). Back to reality. I felt blood but I said nothing to my friends.

Nothing else was said during the game, we returned to Richmond and when I retired to the bedroom, I warned Mrs. RamFanatic that she was likely to see something that looked really bad, but that it wasn't as bad as it looked. Wrong again. When I removed my Levi's, there was dried blood all over my calf and you could see the shin bone through the skin. Mrs. RamFanatic almost fainted and she has almost 30 years experience in the medical field.

There wasn't much pain involved so we decided to wait until the following morning to visit a doctor. Even he said it was a nasty wound. To summarize, I missed two days of work, but eventually, my leg healed completely.

When I returned to work, my boss, who was an attorney, said I should sue the DD. That irritated me because I can't conceive of me suing Carolina over anything, but I later wondered if I would feel this way if there were serious permanent damage involved. For example, would I be so forgiving if my injury had required my leg to be amputated? I don't know and I don't like to think about it. As for my bosses' advice, I didn't care much for her or her advice anyhow.

So what's the point of all this. I simply want you folks who attend games in the DD to be aware that the potential exists for this kind of situation to occur. Maybe you are better coordinated than I am and you will never have a problem. On the other hand, I can't believe in its 15 year existence that I am the only person who has experienced this kind of situation. I have had difficulty figuring out why the space between the back of the seat and the concrete walk way exists in the first place. It must have something to do with cleaning and needing a space for water to flow after the concrete walk ways have been hosed down. If so, I don't understand why the space is so large. Oh well, let's just leave it that I am more careful now when going to my seat and I am not quite as accommodating to those who pass me on the way to their seats. If my alerting you to the problem causes one injury to be avoided, then this article will have been worth while.

In the meantime, GO HEELS.