Outside the Xs and the Os

Again, I am writing this article before the game on Sunday against Iowa State. It's difficult to say why I unwilling to wait to see who wins the game before I write, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that we could lose and I will be in no mood to write if this occurs. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have lost some friendships because I refuse to talk on the telephone immediately after a Carolina loss. I know it's juvenile but I'm who I am and conversation with me while I am trying to process a defeat is a losing proposition for everyone involved. I have friends who refuse to accept this and, on many occasions, have tried to sneak through the barrier ( Mrs. Ramfanatic ) under the pretense of having something else they want to discuss other than basketball. Talking abut transparency.

Life is more complicated than it used to be, but I doubt that comes as a revelation to anyone living in the year 2005. Maybe youngsters are unaware of this because they have never known simplicity as some of us old timers have. They are both lucky and unlucky.

Take for example the simple proposition of watching a basketball game on television. There was a time when you could rely on information provided in the newspaper, radio, and TV to know a) if the game was going to be shown in a given geographic area and b) the time the game would begin. That, my friend, is no longer the case. I have seen the newspaper, TV section, radio, TV and the cable company all be wrong in the information they were providing. If you want to have some fun, call the local TV station or the cable company and try to get information on what is going to be shown. I feel sorry for the people who man the telephones because they only know what they are told and the people who make the decisions oftentimes don't relay accurate information.

Last Friday, I was anxiously awaiting the Oakland-UNC game on HD to come on here in Richmond. The TV announcers said several times, the game would come on a 2:50 but that, understandably, kept changing. Another game began and, by this time, the TV indicated the UNC game would tip off at 3:08. When 3:08 arrived, there was no switch over to the Carolina game. At first, I thought there was a temporary delay and that the game would come on momentarily. After several minutes, I feared the worse. It looked as if Richmond was really scheduled to watch the entire Conn. game and I was furious. I have learned not to get too upset when these kinds of things happen because at my age, there is some danger that I will blow a gasket. So I tried to remain calm and follow the progress of the UNC game with the numbers at the top of the screen. Radio was not a possibility during daylight hours and I didn't want to follow it on the internet.

After suffering through the game, I went to one of the message boards and a poster said they had cut away from the UNC game here in Richmond shortly before halftime. No bells went off because I thought maybe this meant the poster had a satellite system that I don't have.

Later that evening, I casually mentioned to Mrs. Ramfanatic that someone had said they watched most of the game in Richmond before they cut away. She, also casually, confirmed this fact and then I started to smell a rat. I asked her how she knew the game had been shown initially and, by now, you probably have figured out where this is headed. She informed me that she had watched the first part of the game upstairs on her set which has only rabbit ears. She refuses to have cable in the bedroom for reasons known only to her and Leroy the Tar Heel Terror.

To say I was miffed would be an under-statement. I know now what happened, but it didn't calm me at the time. You see, channel 6 has said many times that they can be seen on HD on a channel in the 200s. I have been to the channel many times. Why wouldn't I? If I bought a HD TV, wouldn't one think I would want to see HD whenever I can? The only problem is that the two channels are not identical as I had supposed. You getting the drift now? HD didn't switch over from the Conn. game but Channel 6 did. Here I am in the den fuming over the inability see the Oakland-UNC game while my wife and dog are watching the Heels' game approximately 8 feet above me. The only saving grace about the situation is that it was not a close game and I know how to avoid the debacle in the future.

I had a couple of other things I wanted to comment on, but this has run longer than I thought it would so I will have to do that at a later date.

I'll close by quoting the message I sent to a lot of my friends Friday morning as I was building up for the game. It read " I've got my game face on and I'm not talking to Mrs. Ramfanatic and the dog. Send me in coach. I'm ready to play, today." Credit should be given to the composer of the song by the same name in the movie "Bull Durham". Got a few responses that indicated other Tar Heels were building with excitement also.


"The University at Chapel Hill serves as a symbol for unity in aspiration as do few other institutions in the country...North Carolina was so long in ignorance , so long in poverty ! Its people today are restless in the consciousness of their former stagnation. Chapel Hill is no longer remote, embodies their aspiration that the vale may become the mountain ( if indeed, already it has not !) - that the inconsiderable people between the two aristocracies (South Carolina and Virginia) may yet accomplish a greater destiny than either."

Jonathan Daniels, author and Editor of the
News and Observer, 1939